By Chris May
POTTSTOWN, Pa. (CBS) – As the weather turns chilly, thousands of children in our area will have shoes and boots thanks to a Pottstown couple. As we show you in today’s story of Brotherly Love, they have a most important reason to do this.
Ian Miller was on the cusp of becoming a teenager when he went on a Boy Scouting trip in January 2010.
That first night sledding with fellow Scouts on a bunny hill, Ian’s sled went out of control. His head struck a pole. The injury was fatal.
“We knew when walked into the emergency room door that … what they were going to tell us,” Holly Miller told CBS 3’s Chris May in 2010.
Inside one of Ian’s boots, his doctors found a slip of paper with a Bible verse about perseverance and gave it to Ian’s parents.
In their grief, they found a mission, filling their lives (and garage!) with a new purpose.
Holly smiled as she said, “We are constantly getting phone calls: Are you the shoe people?”
Now they are. The Millers started In Ian’s Boots, a non-profit that distributes thousands of donated shoes, sometimes new, often used, to needy people.
Volunteers clean every pair they can salvage.
“The ones that can be washed in a washing machine are done that way. Others are hand-cleaned and polished,” Holly said.
The worthy shoes go to charities around the area such as Cradles to Crayons in West Conshohocken, which helps low-income and homeless children.
“We are always looking for shoes, and In Ian’s Boots has been instrumental,” said Michal Smith, executive director of Cradles to Crayons.
Leftovers are sent overseas.
Holly and Ron Miller draw no salary and have done no advertising. Word of mouth is working.
“So our garage is packed full. and we have some yet at what we term Ian’s House, which is a house the township is letting us use,” said Ron Miller.
“I’m currently very limited in what I can do,” said Holly, who has fought not only despair but serious illness. She has to use oxygen 24 hours a day. But in their trials the Millers find a purpose.
“It feels like it’s, it’s not in vain,” said Holly.
The Millers estimate so far they’ve given away 20,000 shoes. They’re always looking for shoes in good condition and donations to cover expenses like soap and gas. To connect with In Ian’s Boots, their website is http://iniansboots.org/home.html.