All in the Family - Father, Son, Uncle, Cousin
Jerry L. Miller of Henagar, Ala., is following in his father's footsteps, and those of his uncle and his cousins. They are all masons, and three have participated in the National Masonry Contest.
Miller participated in the 41st annual National Masonry Contest last summer in Kansas City, Mo., finishing second in the secondary (high school) division. Miller's cousin, Andrew Miller, competed in the national competition three straight years, finishing in seventh place, second place and finally first place in 2004. Jerry's father, Jerry Miller Sr., finished in seventh place in the 1985 competition. Miller is already planning to compete for first place honors in the 42nd annual national competition being held June 18-24.
Despite their competitive spirit, the Millers work together at Miller's Masonry, owned by Terry Miller, Jerry's uncle.
When asked if his family influenced his choice of masonry as a career, Miller emphatically denied it. "I've always had a natural interest," he said. "When my cousin, Andrew, and I work together on the line, it's the most fun. We both love block and brick and doing it right!
"You know, my dad and my uncle have taught me a lot. So has my cousin. But I'd have to give my instructor a lot of credit, too," Miller said.
Charles West of the Earnest Pruett Center of Technology in Hollywood, Ala., has developed a number of other accomplished masons during his 25 years as an instructor. In fact, West was also the instructor/sponsor for Miller's father and cousin to the National Masonry Competition in 1985 and 2004, respectively.
West has a lot of confidence in the masons he has trained, as does the school. For example, Principal Dana Moore has contracted with Miller's Masonry to build a second masonry training facility for Earnest Pruett.
"That's going to be a lot of fun to be able to give back to my school in such a meaningful way, so soon after graduation," the young Miller said.
In addition to his expertise in masonry, Miller was a football player and a member of his high school's math team, finishing third in the Alabama state math competition.
While he works full-time in his father's business, Miller is enrolled in the masonry program at Wallace Community College in Eufaula, Ala.
About the Author
J. David Holt, freelance writer and owner of Holt Marketing Group Inc., has been reporting on the SkillsUSA National Masonry Contest since 1994.