SPENCER, W.Va. — A couple hundred people mingled in the commons area at Roane County High School Saturday afternoon. Despite the crowded cafeteria area, the cavernous room was silent. All one could hear were soft sobs, expressions of love, hugs, and sounds of muffled crying. Few words were spoken.
As members of the Roane County student body, staff, coaches and community came together to remember Senior football player Alex Miller, there were no proper words.
“There’s really no way to deal with it except to be with one another,” said Roane County School Superintendent Dr. Richard Duncan.
Miller, a wide receiver for the school’s football team, collapsed on the sideline during the Raiders’ Friday night game at arch rival Clay County.
Best friend and teammate Layne Epling was injured and didn’t play. He was by his side when Miller complained of dizziness.
“He said he was dizzy and the trainer made him lie down and told me to talk to him. I started asking him questions and he knew the day, the month, and where he was, but then he stopped breathing and his eyes rolled back,” said a stunned Epling.
EMS was immediately called to the sideline and frantically worked to save his life. Their efforts however were ultimately unsuccessful.
A day later, still in shock, the community gathered at the school. At Roane County Stadium, where the flag had been lowered Saturday in honor of Miller, his picture hangs along with those of other senior players. Epling and friends Destiny Blosser and Taylor Mace stared at the picture in disbelief.
“He was just a great guy,” Epling added fighting back tears. “He was my best friend. He was the brother I never had. We hung out every day and there was rarely a day you’d catch me without him.”
“I recently lost my mother and he was there,” Blosser added. “He was such an outgoing person and was always willing to help others when they needed it.”
Miller was described as a person other people gravitated toward. He was a natural leader according to friends and one who could always be counted upon. The three friends considered him very much a big brother.
“He took me to church with him every Sunday to his youth group. He really helped me reconnect with God. He never had anything mean to say and was always helping anybody. He was the absolute definition of what a human should be.” Mace said.
When asked by MetroNews to share a little about the young man lost, Assistant Coach John Gray offered some of the highest praise.
“Outstanding kid, first class, great student, great character, the kind of kid you would want to call your son,” said Gray.