Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's a Millers' Tale from Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- They tell you that when you're in the news business you're never supposed to become part of a story. They do not, however, tell you what to do when the story becomes part of you.

Wessa Miller and her parents, Booker and Juanita, are at Bristol this weekend. They spent the day Saturday in the garage meeting lots of people. There was a short press conference about the online auction at from which proceeds will go to, a charity fund that I set up for Millers after I wrote about them more than a year ago. Wessa got to go on stage during the prerace ceremonies and she seemed to love it.

I first talked to the Miller family on the phone in late January or early February of 2008. When she was 6, Wessa went to the 1998 Daytona 500 as part of the Make-A-Wish program and met her favorite driver, Dale Earnhardt. She gave him a penny and Earnhardt glued it onto the dash of the No. 3 Chevrolet. The next day, Earnhardt finally won NASCAR's biggest race.

Earnhardt brought Wessa and her parents to the spring race at Bristol later that year, then brought them back the next two years as well. He also gave them a new Chevrolet van, and they still drive that thing. Booker runs a garage behind his house in Phyllis, Ky., and his knowledge and hard work have kept that van running for the past 11 years.

Saturday was a big day for Rusty Wallace said he was going to give $5,000 of what he earned in Saturday's pro-celebrity race to the fund. Richard Childress gave $1,000. NASCAR Angels arranged for new tires and a tune-up for the van, which has "Lucky Penny" stickers all over it.

People have been very generous on the online auction, too. Some of the items close out on Monday, the rest will be on sale through Friday.

Obviously, I have a rooting interest here. I want to raise as much money as possible so the Millers can get anything they need to help them with Wessa. It'd be nice to get enough for a new van with all the wheelchair access they need. They've already used some of the money to renovate their bathroom to make their lives a little easier.

Somebody asked me Saturday what it was about the Millers that made me want to help them. I gave an answer and then wished I had said it a different way. What I said was that what the Millers consider a good day would be a horrible day for you and me. That's not exactly what I meant. What I meant was that if we had to do what all the Millers do on what they consider a good day, we'd wonder if we could ever make it through another day like that.

Friday night, when my wife and I had dinner with the Millers, she was looking for a 1988 penny to give to Dale Earnhardt Jr. when she gets a chance to see him. Hey, it worked once for the family. Wessa will be at Sunday's Food City 500, too, and she will absolutely be pulling for the No. 88 car.

I can't pull for anybody -- that's not what reporters do. But I do pull for good stories, and no matter what happens today this weekend has been a good story. A lot of very nice people have done a lot of very nice things for the Miller family. And they deserve every bit of it.

If you want to donate to Pennies for Wessa, go to or send a check to Pennies For Wessa, Attention: Mike Damron, Community Trust Bank, P.O. Box 39, Mouthcard, KY 41548.


Anonymous said...

Lose some weight fat-ass

Anonymous said...

Good story. This hits me like some of Tom Higgins' do.

srb4de88 said...

Let's stick to the story. Which is a moving and interesting one. I can see why you are posting as ANONYMOUS. You would not want to embarASS your friends and family

Unknown said...

Perhaps anonymous did not read the story. He is just a Poole hater.
His comment is stupid and out of place. Like they say you can not fix stupid. I have made my contributions to Wessa and plan on making more.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous#1: ........... Nope, I can't think of anything worth saying to you. Secondly I too feel pennies for Wessa is a wonderful org. David: I agree with you about a good day for them would be absolute heck for the other 99% of the population. Let's all just hope today turns out better than the recent past races at what used to be a wonderful race track(Bristol).

Anonymous said...

Mr. Poole, Thank you.

Anonymous said...

As usual a great story and as usual someone that works for espn has to post a dumb ass comment anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Will this "dead horse" mostly fabricated goo goo gaa gaa penny story ever die.The penny had nothing to do with him winning.
Just another way Poole can keep an Earnhardt in the news.

Anonymous said...

I can't pull for anybody-that's not what reporters do???
Are you kiddin'.Do you ever read your articles.
Not only do you need a history lesson in NASCAR.You need to stop telling lies.
Can't pull for anybody.
I can now say that "I HAVE HEARD IT ALL".
David you need to send this one to the Guiness Book under the

Anonymous said...

David - did you see the feature NASCAR NOW did on this story Sunday morning - brought a tear to my eye - thank you and ESPN for showing what the sport can truly be about!

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Anonymous said...

mr miller, mr miller, blah, blah, blah. so caring right? what about all his other children, he abandoned like his 30 year old son, he's never ever talked to.

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