Jay Leno, Jenna Bush Hager surprise Fleming Island sailor with George H.W. Bush’s modified fanU.S. Navy veteran David Miller, of Fleming Island, was surprised when he was given a modified van …
Jay Leno, Jenna Bush Hager surprise Fleming Island sailor with George H.W. Bush’s modified fan
U.S. Navy veteran David Miller, of Fleming Island, was surprised when he was given a modified van once used by Pres. George H.W. Bush during a recent broadcast of the Today Show.
Miller, who served the country for 10 years before a degenerative neurological condition turned life upside down for him and his family, was given the keys by former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno and Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of the former president, outside Rockefeller Plaza.
Jenna became emotional as they rolled up in a former Secret Service van modified to meet Miller's needs that had previously been used by Jenna's beloved “Gampy.” Jenna and Leno then gave the van to Miller, 31, along with his wife, Misa, and their daughter, Rachel, 7.
“I hope you and your family have as many happy memories in this van as my family did,”' she said.
Jenna also presented Miller and his family with a personalized letter from her father, former President George W. Bush, recognizing Miller for his service and noting that George H.W. Bush would've been honored to donate the vehicle. Miller at the former president then were on Facetime so Bush could personally thank him.
Miller served in the Navy from 2007-2017 after enlisting right out of high school. He was working as an aviation ordnance tech on the USS George Washington off the coast of Japan when he met Misa, whom he married in 2011.
Their life took a dramatic turn in 2017 when Miller was deployed on the USS Nimitz in the Middle East and suffered a seizure. He was medevacked to a hospital in Bahrain, where he was diagnosed with a rare disorder called cerebellar atrophy and ataxia, which affects movement and speech.
"I was scared so bad because I couldn't walk,'' Miller said. "I thought I was paralyzed. I just thought, 'Man, how am I going to support my wife and child now?'''
Miller's motor skills are diminished, and his speech is slurred as a result of the condition, which has no cure.
"At least I gave my all when I was able-bodied,'' he said. "That's all I can say. I just tried my best."
The surprise was made possible by BraunAbility, a company that manufactures wheelchair-accessible vans. The company owned the former Secret Service vehicle and reached out to Leno to help donate it through its Drive for Inclusion initiative.
"The bad news is it's a used car,'' Leno joked to Miller. "The good news is it was owned by a Navy hero. And that hero was President George (H.W.) Bush."
The van will help Miller as he gets settled on Fleming Island, where he just moved a month ago after having previously been in Japan. This is the first time the family has all lived together.
NBC Universal was the source of this story.
Comcast donates 200 “Encouragement Kits” to Magnolia Point Women’s Club
GREEN COVE SPRINGS –Magnolia Point Women’s Club’s Maggie’s Meals Project, received more than 200 “Encouragement Kits” donated by Comcast for students at the Charles E. Bennett Elementary and Green Cove Springs Junior High.
Maggie’s Meals is the Magnolia Point Women’s Club project that feeds about 170 children. Feeding hungry children is not just a Monday-through-Friday commitment. Volunteers from the MPWC have been packing bags on Friday for the past seven years to feed the children that otherwise would not have enough food to eat over the weekend.
The Encouragement Kits were packed by the employees of Comcast in Orange Park on its Comcast Cares Day. Thank you to Brandon Heath who organized the project and his team who packed the kits. Included are some simple school supplies, candy and an index card with an encouraging note to students to do well on the end of the year standardize testing. What a happy surprise this will be for the children.
Nancy Nettuno, Corresponding Secretary, MPWC Charities said, “Comcast has been a partner every year since this very worthwhile project was started in 2012. The Magnolia Point Women’s Club cannot thank them enough for its generous and continued support which includes funding, food donations and this year's encouragement kits. Special thanks go to Bill Ferry, Senior Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at Comcast in North Florida for caring enough to remember the children at the Charles E. Bennett Elementary School and Green Cove Springs Junior High.”
Magnolia Point Women’s Club has given more than $410,000 to those in need, primarily in Green Cove Springs and Clay County. The club’s initiatives include assistance to children whose family income is below the poverty level at the Charles E. Bennett Elementary School (90-percent of the students) and awarding scholarships to young women at Clay High School. In May, the club will be awarding $8,000 in scholarships to girls at Clay High School. For its Maggie’s Meals program, the women's club has raised $58,000 in pledges from members along with corporate sponsors.
For more information or to donate, visit or www.mpwc.org.