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The Miller family L-R: Shane, Joan, Mike and Zoe. 

A year ago, Mike Miller, his wife Joan and their children Zoe and Shane decided to call Amery home. “We chose Amery as home because I grew up in the area and remembered what a great experience it was boating, fishing and leisure time spent on the lake. I wanted our kids to have the same fun experiences I did. Also, I remembered how everyone used to say hello to everyone and how friendly everyone was,” said Mike.

To enjoy some of the outdoor recreation that led the family to the area, the Millers went out for the Wisconsin experience of snowmobiling after being cooped up indoors for so long because of COVID-19. Mike said, “On the trail something went terribly awry sending Joan and Zoe down an embankment and into a tree. The police, paramedics, and other emergency personnel were awesome and were very professional. They sent Joan one way to be medevac’d by helicopter to the hospital and Zoe the other way to a local hospital in an ambulance.

Joan was transported to Duluth. The road to recovery is going to be a long one. Doctors treated her for a collapsed lung and several broken ribs, among other injuries.

It will be many months before Zoe, a junior on Amery High School’s Golf team, will be walking without a walker. Mike said, “Hopefully, by the end of summer she might be able to hit the links with her team. Joan at this time can’t walk or move around without the aid of nurses or a wheelchair. Her prognosis looks better at the year mark. Hopefully, in the long, tedious recovery she will regain use of her limbs and be able to hug her grandchildren someday!”

Cassy Anderson, also of Amery saw a post on Facebook about what had happened to the Millers.

“It was just a post that I had seen on Facebook,” Anderson said in an interview with KARE 11. “Their accident happened to be on January 18, which is the day I lost my six-year-old daughter.”

Anderson had lost her beautiful daughter Khyla, exactly one year earlier in a similar incident involving a snowmobile. Having started “Khyla’s Treasures” in honor of her daughter, Anderson decided to donate $160 - the full proceeds from a recent t-shirt sale in Khyla’s name - to the Miller family.

Anderson’s kindness is truly what being a part of a small community is about.

“Special shout out to Khyla's Treasures of Amery who reached out to us early on and told us about her story. Cassy is very generous and told us to hang on as the tragedy will fade in time,” said Mike.

He encourages others to please be careful with their snowmobiles, side by sides, and other vehicles. He said, “You never know what’s around that bend, trail, or road. Hug each other and let them know they are important to you.”

The Miller family appreciates all the first responders who got there quickly. They said they made all the difference in the world and mitigated the outcome.

Mike said the Amery community can help by keeping their family in your thoughts and prayers. “They do work. It’s a miracle they both survived such a horrendous accident,” he said.

A GoFundMe has been started to help the Millers with medical bills. The link is: https://gofund.me/266306e7

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