Mourners remember Northwest football player
Second vigil for Miller, 16, is scheduled tonight at school
More than 200 mourners remembered their son, friend, church volunteer and teammate Edwin "Dek" Miller, 16, as they struggled to come to grips with his death after he collapsed during football practice at Northwest High School.
Miller's mother, Nahdi Nah burst into tears July 8 when she saw of a picture of her only child on a video screen at the memorial at Covenant United Methodist Church in Montgomery Village. Nah repeatedly screamed "my baby, my baby" as the audio slideshow continued.
A second vigil for Miller will be held at Northwest at 7 p.m. today, said Acting Principal Jacqueline Orrence.
Miller's wake will be held at 7 p.m. Friday. His funeral will be held at the church Saturday, with the viewing at 7:30 a.m., followed by the service at 9 a.m.
"He's the guy you never thought this would happen to," said the church's Pastor Phil Ayers. "He did all the things right and then this happens."
Miller, 16, of Germantown, died July 6 at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., after he collapsed July 2 during voluntary conditioning drills.
Head Coach Mark Maradei, in his first year at the helm of the Jaguars football team, said coaches performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Miller as he lay on the track. Maradei rushed to Miller "as soon as he heard" the teen collapsed, said he believes "everyone did what they were supposed to do."
Miller was rushed to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, but his condition worsened July 3 and he was taken to Children's National Medical Center. An autopsy was conducted July 7, said Miller's uncle Alston Nah of Laurel.
Ayers said he anointed Miller with oil at 8:30 a.m. and again at 2:15 p.m., just before Miller was taken off life support. Beverly Fields, a spokeswoman for the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said autopsy results are still pending. Montgomery County Police spokesman Cpl. Stephen Galloza said police are not conducting an investigation.
"He's the kid everyone dreams of," Ayers said. "Perfect grades, didn't get into trouble and was dedicated to his church and carried the crucifix into the church before service."
Several of Miller's teammates and family members spoke about "Dek," short for the Liberian name Dekonti, which means "there is a time for everything," according to Miller's uncle.
James Reed, 16, of Germantown said he met Miller four years ago and they were "like close brothers." Reed, a rising junior at Northwest, said he and other friends hung out with Miller "everyday before and after school and on the weekends."
Reed fought back tears as he clutched the sides of the podium and told the mourners about Miller's inspiration.
"Every time I wanted to quit something, he would tell me not to," Reed said. "And for him, I never will."
As Ayers closed the service, he described Miller as the ideal man and role model. The lights dimmed and hundreds of candles were raised by mourners in silent prayer.
"We're all family now," Ayers reminded the dissipating crowd. "We're family through death."