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WITC-Superior supports late student's family through welding

Seventeen students in the WITC-Superior welding program set aside a few days to put together art projects that were sold during a silent auction to help raise money for the parents of Bryan Miller, a graduate of the program who passed away unexpectedly in September.

(12/6/12): WITC President Bob Meyer recently presented a check for $1,000 to welding graduate Bryan Miller’s parents, Jerry and Cindy Miller – an act, Meyer says shows how the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College family is welded together beyond graduation.

It was in September 2012, when Bryan Miller died unexpectedly. His father, Jerry Miller, had taken welding classes right beside him at WITC-Superior five years ago.

“Bryan and Jerry were the only father, son student combination that I have taught in 12 years at WITC,” says John Palmer, welding program advisor. “Both were hired directly after graduating from the welding program in 2007.”

Items created by students in the WITC-Superior welding program for the Bryan Miller fundraiser included a northern pike, moose antlers and weather vanes, among other items.
Bryan didn’t stay gone after graduation.

“Bryan was here at WITC practicing for a weld test just a few weeks before he died," says Palmer. "He was a skilled worker and will be fondly remembered.”

Upon learning of Bryan’s death, Palmer’s welding class changed gears – turning an annual fall fundraiser for the Dan Maynard Memorial Scholarship into a means of support for the Miller family.

“We wanted to show our support for the family,” says Charles Westman, a student in the program. “It’s a small gesture that can help in some way.  We want them to know that they and Bryan are in our thoughts.”

Seventeen students set aside a few days to put together art projects that were sold during a silent auction. Palmer says their creativity in welding showed. Projects featured northern pike, moose antlers and weather vanes, among other items.  WITC-Superior staff also pitched in donations, allowing the fundraiser to bring in more money than usual.

After the check was passed over to the family, a student handed Jerry and Cindy a metal sign with “Miller” cut into the center, an art piece made specifically for them.

“I think I can speak for the whole class when I say, we wish them the best,” says Westman.