Paying it Forward – the Living Legacy of Tribute Giving

Being a burn survivor is a lifelong journey and for the family of Herbie Miller, they are celebrating his journey beyond his lifetime. 

Recently, Phoenix Society received a tribute gift in memory of Herbert “Herbie” Miller. A tribute gift is a meaningful way to honor a loved one’s memory or honoring someone special in your life.  These gifts are unique expressions of thoughtfulness and love. Many of our community members have found peace and solace in giving a gift in the name of a loved one who has passed or a by honoring a milestone of someone living such as birthday or a burn-aversary.


When asked why it was so important to the family to give a gift to Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors in memory of Herbie, the family shared:

“With so many charities to choose from, we decided to give to Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors in honor of our loved one, Herbie Miller. Herbie suffered severe burns on Christmas night in 2004 on over 68% of his body. Herbie was a George Pessotti Scholarship Fund recipient to attend the Phoenix World Burn Congress in 2008 in North Carolina and was invited to be part of a healing, uplifting and hopeful experience dedicated to burn survivors and their families. 

Phoenix World Burn Congress creates an inclusive and 'you are not alone' feeling that is simply indescribable. It is where new friendships begin and sharing your story, your pain and your miracles are welcomed. Herbie proudly wore tattoos 'Pay It Forward' and a 'Phoenix Rising' across his chest on top of his scars.

Herbie knew once a family is faced with a burn injury, and their world is instantly turned upside down; it is faith, compassion and hope that will sustain them. We were compelled to pay it forward and help others rise from the ashes transforming victims into survivors and that is why it was so important for our family to give to the Phoenix Society.”


The gift also gave the family a sense of closure to Herbie’s two daughters. Both girls were very young when Herbie was burned and are still going through the process of healing. They were both very touched when hearing that a gift was made in honor of their father. Now as young adults, they are interested in contributing a gift again to continue to honor their father’s legacy – in the spirit of ‘paying it forward’ – just like their dad would have done!

Tribute giving is a special way to offer hope while honoring someone – or something – special. To learn more about tribute gifts or other ways to give:

  • Contact Martha Boks at or #616-208-1142, or
  • Visit our Donate Page and select "dedicate my donation."


Herbie Miller with his two daughters, Marissa Miller and Cynthia Miller Brisco in Spring 2016.

Comment on This Post

Login or Register to post comments.

Recent Comments

Noah298    Moderate:
10:05am - Oct 21, 2019

It’s a level playing field for you. You have the chance to continue the legacy of your family and keep providing the space for your