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After Hours: Jeremy Miller, Proof that a negative can be a positive

After a terrible car accident at the age of 16, Jeremy P. Miller, vice president of Harden & Associates (http://hardeninsight.com), finds himself fortunate to even be alive today.

In that accident, Miller’s car flipped six times, the vehicle was totaled, and he was rushed to the emergency room. By the time doctors determined his condition and found what was causing him problems, he had been bleeding internally for quite some time from a ruptured spleen.

“They had to rush me into the operating room immediately to save my life,” says Miller, who has the rare O-negative blood type. The surgeons later told him that if they didn’t have the ample blood supply to replace what he had lost and sufficient blood to actually perform the surgery, they would not have been successful.

“If it weren’t for the efforts of my community blood bank in my small hometown, I wouldn’t be here today,” says Miller. “At 16 years old, that really opened my eyes to the efforts and importance of community blood banks.”

Getting involved

After his recovery, he became active in his local blood bank by becoming a regular donor and continued his efforts while attending the University of Georgia. But it was after his move to Jacksonville in 2003 that he really began giving back on a grander scale.

He immediately sought out The Blood Alliance (www.igiveblood.com) to donate blood and to learn more about it, its operations, and mission. “With every blood bank, the optimal outcome is the same, but everyone does things differently,” says Miller. “I was interested to learn how they were different, which communities they serve, and which hospitals they work with.”

 Through donating and learning more, he took on the role of a blood donation chairperson, where he coordinated and set up Harden’s regularly scheduled blood drives on a quarterly basis and encouraged his associates to participate.

“We’ve had tremendous success across our company in scheduling those quarterly drives and we’ve been doing them now for about six years,” says Miller. “In fact, three years ago, after finalizing our new building, our blood drive grew from just a Harden blood drive to a building-wide blood drive.”

 Many companies in the building appointed their own blood drive chairperson and got other companies to participate in the quarterly blood drives that the donations have grown from 15 per quarter to more than 50 per quarter.

Through these efforts, Miller was approached to join The Blood Alliance’s board of directors. “I happily and humbly accepted the offer and have been on the board now for about five years,” says Miller.

Being on the board

In the last few years, Miller has taken on a few different roles on The Blood Alliance’s board—as head of the strategic planning committee, treasurer, and vice chairman, but his most recent role was that of chairman.

As the chairman, he was the “go to” person. He oversaw the board of directors and worked directly with The Blood Alliance’s CEO on a number of matters that might need approval or insight, as well as participated on a number of different projects throughout the year.

With each fiscal year, The Blood Alliance ushers new officers into its positions, and this past October was no different. While Miller will still be active and play a major role on The Blood Alliance’s board, it will be that as the immediate past chairman.

“I’ll be on the executive committee and participate in a number of other committees we have, but I will also be there as an advisor of sorts to the new chairman to support her wherever I can bring value as she sees fit,” says Miller.

Making it all worth it

Although never in any formal capacity, Miller’s experience is what drives him to reach out and educate the community. “I find that just meeting people and discussing what you are involved with in the community is a good way for me to express my passion for the mission of The Blood Alliance,” says Miller. “It also educates people and helps them become more motivated to give back to the blood banks that might be in their own communities.”

Because he’s personally felt the difference a community blood bank can make in somebody’s life, Miller says his motivation is to “make sure the next person who is in the same circumstances that I was in at age 16 gets the same outcome I received—they were able to save my life and to make sure I lived another day.”

Jeremy P. Miller, AAI, ARM, RPLU, is vice president and commercial insurance division account director at Harden & Associates, one of the Southeast’s leading insurance, risk management, and employee benefits firms. He can be contacted at (904) 354-3785 or through www.hardeninsight.com.


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