SPENCER, W.Va. — Pastor Russ Stump knew late Roane County football player Alex Miller better than most. Stump is the minister at the Boggs Fork Community Church in Spencer, West Virginia where Alex was a member. He is also a teacher and assistant football coach at Roane County High school. Stump first met Alex when he was in the 6th grade and encouraged him to come out to play middle school football.
Since his death a week ago, the words praising Alex as a young man have been overflowing. Those who knew him have commented he was a great teammate, a great friend, an incredible student, and a strong Christian. But Pastor Stump said such words fall short.
“It may not be enough, because he may very well have been the finest 17 year old young man I ever met in my life,” said Stump.
Stump has the difficult task of addressing a grieving community on Saturday afternoon with words of comfort during Alex’s funeral. When asked of the challenge, Stump didn’t hesitate.
“I’ll simply tell the truth of the gospel, which is this; Alex Miller’s body has died and ceased to function, but the real Alex Miller, his soul and spirit, lives on with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His example and the legacy that he has left is overwhelming,” said Stump.
Stump described the young may whom he knew for ten years as a champion in all facets of his life. According to the pastor, Alex feared nobody on a football field, but was the first to help an opposing player back to his feet at the end of a play. Stump said Alex was a champion socially and had more friends than anyone could count.
“It wasn’t because he was rich or famous, it was because people knew he could keep a confidence. He didn’t look at anyone’s social status or race, he was a true friend in every sense of the word,” said Stump.
Stump plans to impart to the anticipated large crowd in the Roane County High School gymnasium Saturday Alex was a champion in the classroom as an “A” student and most importantly, according to Stump, he was a champion for Jesus Christ.
“In many ways, he wasn’t as vocal, but in the way he lived his life he was like a young Tim Tebow. He had that kind of influence.” said Stump.
The message will be one of hope and healing to a community who embraced a young man they lost, but one whose legacy and impact will never be forgotten.
“He has left a large footprint. His legacy will always be remembered here and he has truly honored his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through his words and actions. I believe we can draw comfort and consolation from that,” said Stump.