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This is part of my therapy for ptsd

How Derek Miller Is Giving Back To His Fellow Veterans

Derek Miller left Bathurst in 1988 for the army and retired in 2011. Throughout his nearly 23 years of military service, Derek spent six months in Golan Heights, which he refers to as a “No-man’s-land” between Israel and Syria, six months in Bosnia as a NATO peacemaker with the first group deployed under the Dayton Peace Accord, another 8 months with NATO, as well as multiple other trips overseas.

Though Derek mentions things have changed since his time, he found that society wasted no time reintroducing his generation, and many before his, only moments after they returned from war zones.

“When I came back from Bosnia. From a war zone, I immediately moved to Quebec. I didn’t speak French. A guy from a little town in Northern New Brunswick, not used to Montreal traffic. All of a sudden, I’m all immersed in that.”

Derek would work around Montreal, and retire at the base in Saint-Jean-Du-Richelieu, before coming back to Bathurst, where the idea for Miller’s Mission was born.

“This is part of my therapy for my PTSD,” Says Derek about his not-for-profit mission. “If a veteran returns and wants some time alone, or time to reconnect with family and friends, they can rent it out for a weekend or a week. Whatever they need.”

On the 200 acres of property which Derek owns in Middle River, he has fully completed one cabin, with another three quarters finished, and the site prepped for a third.

The completed cabin, which is named the Bonaventure after the HMCS Bonaventure, which was an aircraft carrier in service with Canada’s Navy, is 24 x 24, with two bedrooms and a full bathroom. There’s very little Wi-Fi, and for power there’s a 12 volt, and propane. 

“We intentionally did not provide Wi-Fi,” says Derek. “There’s 200 acres to walk around and have fun. They don’t have a reason to not go out and enjoy themselves.”

Derek bought the property in 2019, and it has been an ongoing project ever since. While much of the funds for Miller’s Mission have come out of his own pocket, Derek has received generous donations from the Kinsman Club, the Legion, and Rolling Thunder. 

All the money made at Miller’s Mission stays in the company for the veterans. “I don’t want people to think I’m profiting off of my fellow veterans,” says Derek. 

The vision for Miller’s Mission is to build three cabins and go from there. The property is huge, and the opportunity to build more is there, should there be a need. 

If you want to reach out to Derek, you can find the Miller’s Mission page on Facebook. You can reach out via message, email at millersmission@hotmail.com or by phone at 506-226-2648.

I want to thank Derek for driving me around his property, to talk about his mission and to enlighten me on all the great work that he’s doing for his fellow veterans. 

Derek showcases positivity in our region, and that is exactly why we feel it is important to share these stories.

Thank you for reading another edition of The Northern Heat Report. The place you come to listen to the stories that have not yet been discovered.