As the survivor of a hemorrhagic stroke, Hub Miller likes to share one particular story.
“A few weeks after the surgery that saved my life on April 26, 2021, I was talking to the neurosurgeon and complimenting him on his skills as a surgeon, and he said, ‘Hub, the only reason you're alive is because people were praying for you.’”
A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a ruptured blood vessel bleeds into the brain, and for Miller, the odds were not in his favor. Statistics show the majority of people who suffer this type of stroke don’t survive.
“Because of my sister managing social media updates, my friends and contacts from all over the world in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam were praying for me, and that's why I'm alive,” Miller said.
Also important to his survival, Miller acted “FAST,” an acronym used to recognize the signs of stroke: Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, Time to call 911. “FAST” was ingrained in him by a boss who ended every meeting with the reminder.
“I’d sit back and think, ‘Here comes the whole FAST speech again; let’s move on.’ I didn’t know I’d ever use it on myself,” recalled Miller in an interview with the American Stroke Association.
After nearly three weeks in the hospital, Miller transitioned to an inpatient rehabilitation unit where he re-learned to walk and met with a speech therapist for routine therapy. One exercise required him to name items that begin with an “a,” to which he would rattle off scientific names of insects and herbicides like, “aminopyralid.” Thankfully, the stroke did not affect his cognitive abilities.
As a global leader for an international agriscience company, Miller’s career has taken him all over the world. He graduated from the Mississippi State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) in 2003 with a bachelor's in agricultural pest management and in 2005 with a master’s in agronomy.
“So many of my friends from Mississippi State checked on me and visited me. Christopher Whatley and Mason McWilliams drove my parents from their home in Drew, Mississippi, to the hospital in Indianapolis. Jack McCarty sent me an MSU blanket, which might have saved my life because I was on blood thinners and always freezing,” recalled Miller.
His father, Tucker Miller, and sister, Emily Waters, are also CALS alumni. Growing up on a row crop farm, agriculture has always been a part of Miller’s life and one he missed while rehabilitating from the stroke.
“With farming, there are so many challenges and opportunities to improve and do something a little bit better every day. It’s an industry I love, and it’s because of the people. Farmers share so many important values. They care about their families, the land, and their communities, and that draws me in every time no matter where I've been in my career,” said Miller.
Miller lives in Indianapolis with his wife and their three children, and in January, he started a new role as Vice President of Teleos Ag Solutions, a company specializing in soil fumigation. He’s made great strides in his recovery but is still working to regain mobility in his left arm and left knee. He can walk, not fast, but that’s only a small challenge for someone who has overcome so much.
“I’ve seen how both the ag industry and MSU family support people in their communities through some really tough times,” said Miller. “That support combined with commitment, perseverance, and hard work has helped me get back to life and contribute to a career that I love.”
Hub’s parents, Tucker and Ruth Miller, are helping students earn agricultural degrees through an endowed scholarship. Read this story on page 30 of Landmarks.