Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

One Bridge He Couldn't Wait to Cross

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

One Bridge He Couldn't Wait to Cross

Article excerpt


BRUNSWICK - On his birthday Friday, Henry M. Miller rose early and took a walk.

There's not much unusual about that beyond the fact he turned 94 and his walk was a 6 a.m. stroll that took him to the top of the Sidney Lanier Bridge almost 200 feet above the river.

With a reflective safety vest and a flashing red strobe mounted on his wheeler walker, Miller set out in near complete darkness with his 60-year-old son, Terry. He wanted to beat the heat and the traffic his daughter, Linda Miller, said.

Miller had a simple explanation for his walk.

"There was a piece in the local paper. They were going to have a race. They talked about how high it was and how big it was," he said of the bridge that is about 7,700 feet long and 185 feet above the Brunswick River at its highest point.

"I decided I wanted to do that. I came over and went one way. Then I decided I wanted to go both ways. That's today,'' he said. "My birthday.''

Walking isn't new for Miller. He did a lot of walking when he worked 25 years as a surveyor for Kansas City Power and Light.

"Carried my instrument over my shoulder,'' he said of his surveying equipment.

And through all of that, he has walked out his faith. In the 1940s, he was in seminary and spent most of his life as a Baptist minister. He had only a few full-time churches. He preached in Alamosa, Colo., a city about 7,500 feet above sea level nestled in a valley overlooked by peaks. He also pastored a church in Holly, Colo., in the eastern plains, less than 3,400 feet in elevation.

He also was a circuit preacher in Missouri, his native state. You can tell he's a real Missourian. He pronounces it Missouruh instead of Missouree.

Some of his six children - Terry is the second oldest - followed in his footsteps and perhaps went a little farther.

One daughter, Gay, and her husband David Hodges, were missionaries in Brazil for 30 years. Linda Miller, who lives with him and the Hodges on Jekyll Island, was a missionary in Africa.

He spoke of his children as he and his son walked up the south slope of the bridge. Mike and Sharon Maccomb, friends from his church, the Baptist chapel on Jekyll Island, walked a little ahead. …

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