SPENCER, W.Va. — Tributes and heartfelt sympathy have flowed into Roane County ever since the news broke Saturday about the death of Alex Miller. A viral effort to show such sympathy was amplified on Tuesday.
The phenomenon was dubbed “Roane Raider Tuesday.” It encouraged students at high schools everywhere to wear the Roane County High School colors for one day and show their collective spirit to the grieving community of Spencer.
“As a school we lost a student last year and we were shown so much compassion from other schools in the state, we wanted to return that,” said Kathy Prichard, secretary at Westside High School in Wyoming County.
The Westside students formed an “80” — Miller’s jersey number — on the schools gym floor and posted a picture to the school’s Facebook page. A similar picture was generated by North Marion High School with an overhead shot of a large #80 formed by a large contingent of the student body on the football field.
At Lincoln County High School, students posted a video of the entire student body being led in a “Raiders” cheer and wearing Maroon and Silver. It was an unusual look because the school’s gym floor is blue and black and the nickname is the Panthers.
Mingo Central High School was replacing all of its blue and black school colors with maroon for the rest of the week as a tribute to Miller.
Student from Hampshire High School in Romney posed in full maroon and silver in front of their school sign where they had put up Miller’s name.
“They picked this up and ran with it. I’m extremely proud of how our students responded,” said Hampshire High School Athletic Director Trey Stewart. “High school athletics is so much more than simply a sport. In our county, it’s a staple of the community.”
It’s a staple in most West Virginia communities who feel the loss and grief Roane County is enduring. But it wasn’t just other schools. In Morgantown, Coach Neal Brown opened up his weekly press conference with condolences.
“On behalf of our football program I was to offer our condolences to the family of Alex Miller, his friends and teammates and everyone in Roane County. Our thoughts and prayers are with them,” Brown said.
Brown told reporters he received word of Miller’s death on Saturday, a fairly busy time for the coach of a college football team.
“I wanted to make sure everybody in Spencer and Roane County knew we’re thinking about them,” he added.
“On behalf of our football program I want to offer our condolences to the family of Alex Miller, his friends, his teammates and really everyone in Roane County. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.” – Coach Neal Brown pic.twitter.com/JZP0WuwmiZ
— West Virginia Football (@WVUfootball) September 17, 2019
Doc Holliday opens his off-week press conference by offering thoughts and prayers to Alex Miller and the community in Roane County. He wants everyone to keep Roane County in their thoughts. #HerdFamily
— Marshall Football (@HerdFB) September 17, 2019
Government agencies far and wide participated in tributes.
Charleston City Hall had a Raider “R” and tribute posted on each of its doors Tuesday. Ripley City Police donned maroon t-shirts with #80 on the back. An aeromedical helicopter crew in Beckley posed a picture wearing maroon. There were schools from Kentucky, Ohio, and even one picture posted from New York City.
“My goodness. The amazing support from far and wide has been unbelievable,” said Drew Miller, play by play voice of the Roane County Raiders. “We’re trying to get all of these pictures and all of these messages to Alex’s parents and his sister to let them know, there’s a lot of support behind them.”