The large banner across the Knights of Columbus building on Main Street in Allegany says it all: “Welcome Home Major Patrick Miller.”
That’s the first of many welcomes and good wishes to come for Miller, who was wounded in an April 2 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.
Miller, a native of the Cattaraugus County village, and his wife, Ashley, are returning to Western New York on Friday for the first time since the shooting.
They will fly into Buffalo, where they will be greeted by his parents, Carole and John Miller, and brothers Tim and Matt.
His sister, Cathy, will arrive later Friday.
The Patriot Guard Riders will escort Miller and his family and friends to Allegany.
This week is Allegany Engine Company 2014 Old Home Week, and Miller will be the grand marshal in the annual parade at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
He said he looks forward to seeing his friends and family.
“So many people are coming from out of town who I haven’t seen in months or even years,” he said. “Just to be able to hug them, because there was a point where I didn’t think I would be able to see them again.”
The parade begins at the intersection of Seventh and Main streets, and ends at the intersection of First and Main.
Miller, a St. Bonaventure University graduate, was one of 16 soldiers wounded in April when Spc. Ivan A. Lopez fired at least 35 rounds at his fellow troops during a roughly eight-minute rampage at Fort Hood.
Lopez killed three soldiers before taking his own life.
Miller, a comptroller of a medical brigade, was shot in the abdomen and was credited with keeping others safe from the gunman.
“We do have a really positive attitude about this,” he said of his recovery. “You look back, and you just continue to appreciate life.”
“You just keep thinking, it could have been so much worse,” said his wife, Ashley.
Miller is being transferred next month to Fort Leavenworth, Kan.