NEW ALBANY — Life hasn’t been easy this past year for Jason Miller. Even though he alone survived a massive EF-4 tornado that ripped apart his Pekin home and killed a family of five that sought shelter there, Miller remains uncertain as to what the future holds.
With mounting medical bills and no job because of his injuries, the 33-year-old recently returned to his Southern Indiana hometown in search of opportunities as well as, more importantly, a renewed peace of mind.
“I’ve been swimming in a sea of indecision for the past year. I haven’t been able to make decisions even beyond my health just because I haven’t felt like the same person,” Miller said in an interview on the anniversary of the destructive March 2, 2012, tornadoes.
After the storms, Miller’s story became headline news. CNN and “The Today Show” interviewed him for segments detailing the tragedy. It’s strange to think that only 11 years ago, the Salem native wouldn’t have been able to view these very news shows he was set to appear. Miller was born to an Amish family where their conservative practices guided his upbringing. He left the community early in his 20s, the first of his 13 siblings to do so, and established himself in the outside world.
Only six weeks before the deadly storms hit, Miller had moved to a house in Pekin with his girlfriend and her son. Always good at working with his hands, he had just landed a new job with Hoosier Uplands as a weatherization contractor. His first assignment with the organization had just been completed the night before the disaster struck.
On the morning of March 2, 2012, he decided to stay around the house to monitor the reports of severe weather approaching the area. He remained glued to the television for the better part of the afternoon and found himself relieved when the red blobs on the screen appeared to be shifting away from his town.