Classmate honors the life of Trooper Miller

A black bunting draped over the sign in front of the Troop C barracks and a pile of flowers placed underneath serve t...

Posted: Apr 1, 2018 8:33 AM
Updated: Apr 1, 2018 8:33 AM

A black bunting draped over the sign in front of the Troop C barracks and a pile of flowers placed underneath serve to honor Trooper First Class Kevin Miller's life on Friday evening.

Trooper First Class Miller passed away on Thursday afternoon after it was revealed that his trooper car crashed into a tractor trailer on Interstate 84 Eastbound in Tolland, near Exit 68.

Family, friends, the Connecticut State Police force, and dozens of police forces across Connecticut are finding their own ways of honoring the life of Trooper Miller.

East Hartford resident, Beth Bockus told Channel 3 that she loves looking through her high school yearbooks.

"It just brings back a lot of good memories," said Bockus. "High school was good, good times."

But after learning of her former classmate Trooper Miller's passing, she said it was particularly difficult to see his picture.

"It's sad," she said. "I'm going to miss him. It was terrible. I just knew as soon as I heard that phone call that it was our friend Kevin."

Bockus said Miller was charming, funny, and even back then she said she knew he would grow up to help others.

"He just gave a lot to the community and I'm still in shock," she said.

Bockus said that while she and her classmates are in mourning, she told Channel 3 that they are finding comfort that the entire state is honoring Trooper Miller's memory.

"I do believe he's going to be remembered as a Connecticut hero."

Bockus caught a glimpse of a snapshot that has been circulating Facebook at the time that Trooper Miller's body was escorted to the Medical Examiner Office in Farmington.

Four-year-old Gianna Ruggerio stood at attention with a salute to her forehead as the escort passed by her neighborhood.

When young Ruggerio was asked by Channel 3 why she thought it was important to stop and salute as Trooper Miller's escort passed by, she humbly replied, "because that's the kindest thing to do."

Gianna's father, UConn Fire Captain Anthony Ruggerio told Channel 3 that moment of his daughter captured in a picture brought a tear to his eye.

"I was absolutely just beaming with pride," said Captain Ruggerio.

Gianna said she has always known how to salute, and taught Channel 3.

"Well, you first put your fingers and then you put it at the side of your eye," said Ruggerio.

The photos of Ruggerio went viral shortly after they were posted, reminding the nation of the importance of honoring our law enforcement and emergency personnel.

Trooper Miller's body was escorted to a funeral home today, but the arrangements have not been made public at this time.

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