Veteran services

Selfless Among Us: Married Air Force Veterans on a Mission for Veteran Mental Health Care

Cindy and Chad Miller, married to Air Force veterans from Clarence Center, go to great lengths to help other vets who are suffering mentally on the home front.

CLARENCE, NY – Chad and Cynthia Miller of the Clarence Center married in 2011, and their shared passion for serving their country was perhaps their greatest bond.

“We say our honeymoon was in Afghanistan because we got married and deployed two or three months later,” laughed Cindy Miller.

Cindy Miller has completed two tours of duty as a medic in Afghanistan. Her husband, Chad, a technical sergeant whose mission as a gunner was to protect military convoys, was deployed five times to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf. Now in their 30s, they are busy parents of three young children and Air Force veterans who continue to share the same passion: helping other veterans get the mental health care they desperately need. need.

“There’s a lot of depression, a lot of anxiety, a lot of suicidal ideation among veterans. Twenty-two veterans are ending their lives every day, which is awful and needs to stop,” said Cindy Miller, behavioral health nurse practitioner. .

She recently opened her own private practice on Sheridan Drive in Williamsville called Strong Minds. She said any veteran who walks through her door, regardless of their ability to pay, will be able to get help from someone who can identify themselves.

“There’s a huge shortage of providers who have any kind of military background and I think that’s where the care gap is,” she said. “When you try to explain to a supplier what you went through while you were deployed, nobody can understand that unless they really went through that. Let me help you, because I’ve been there. I can understand and I have the ability to help.”

Cindy Miller said when veterans finally find the courage to seek help, there should be no obstacles in the way of treatment.

“A lot of veterans don’t have any type of health insurance or they have a very high copayment or deductible which prevents them from getting any kind of services. I myself have tried to get services with the VA and I was turned down,” she said. “Even when you finally take the step to say, ‘OK, I’m ready to talk to someone,’ you can’t even get help. So any veteran I see, I’m not taking any kind of It’s just a vet connecting with a vet, they can help each other and that’s it.

Chad Miller admits he needed the help himself.

“It was a constant barrage of mortars and rockets for months on end, and you went from deploying very anxious to coming home trying to adapt and having a hard time adjusting,” said he declared. “In 2019 I came out and admitted to having attempted suicide in 2009 and again in 2018 where I was at rock bottom and suffering from suicidal thoughts. Being vulnerable is not a weakness. Talking things out and moving forward is the way to go.”

See a previous WGRZ feature on Chad Miller here.

Chad Miller is moving forward sharing his story and pushing his body.

He is preparing to row 3,000 miles in a race across the Atlantic Ocean in December with three of his Air Force comrades from the Fight OAR Die team.

Chad Miller says the nearly two-month mission goes beyond just raising funds and raising awareness for veterans’ mental health. He wants to inspire vets to find their purpose.

“Yes, you’ve done a lot of good things, never lose sight of that, but that was before, what are you doing now?” said Chad Miller.

As for what Chad Miller does now, besides training with his team for the race – they hope to complete it in 49 days to set a new world record – he’s a busy stay-at-home dad, who volunteers with several veterans organizations. , and is entering her second year of nursing school to specialize in mental health care for veterans, just like Cindy.

The Millers are a selfless couple, sacrificing so much to support their fellow veterans and each other.

“Our relationship, there’s no way we could be any stronger because we went through the war together,” Cindy Miller said.

To contact Cindy Miller at Strong Minds, click here.

For more on Chad’s Fight OAR Die mission, click here.

If you know someone who should be on WGRZ as one of the “selfless among us,” email [email protected].

To see the other stars of the series, click on the videos below.