Industry remembers Miller

Friday, October 23, 2015

WATERLOO, Iowa – A saddened HME industry flocked to a memorial website for Van Miller last week to share fond memories and exchange stories about VGM Group’s steadfast leader, and to thank him for all his work.

Miller, 67, died Oct. 18 at his home of an apparent heart attack. 

“My first contact with Van was at a Heartland Conference,” shared George Breshears of Shaver Pharmacy in Pocatello, Idaho. “I was lost and feeling out of my tree while standing in front classroom door, when suddenly a man in a loud flag shirt approached me and asked if I was going in. I answered, ‘I think so.’ He said, ‘I'll go in, if you will’ and he did! He sat with me through the entire course, and I made my first friend there. It wasn't until that evening that I discovered he was the CEO ‘Big Guy.’ I will miss him and his vision for our industry.”

A funeral was scheduled to take place for Miller on Oct. 24. The family has requested, in lieu of flowers, that memorials be made to, among other charities, AAHomecare’s Stand up for Homecare event, which takes place Oct. 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce as part of Medtrade. Donations may be sent directly to VGM’s office, PO Box 2817, Waterloo, Iowa, 50704, with attention to Kelly Turner. 

Until VGM’s board of directors meets in person in November, Jim Walsh has been named chairman of the board and interim CEO.

Mal Mixon, the retired chairman of the board at Invacare, shared on the website: “I first met Van at the first Medtrade show many years ago. Invacare had a small booth. Van walked up and said he wanted to sign up for the Invacare line. He further stated that he had just come from the E&J booth, where they refused to open their line for him. Instead, they told him he would first be required to fill out an application, and further that it had to be submitted by the local E&J territory manager to the regional manager and eventually to the VP of sales before he could get approval. Van said, ‘I want to open your line RIGHT NOW.’ Not only did Invacare open him up RIGHT NOW, Miller Medical became a million dollar per year customer and our largest customer in the state of Iowa.”

Miller founded Miller Medical Supply, a full-line HME provider that grew to 20 locations in eight states, before founding VGM in 1986.

Words frequently used to describe Miller on the website: successful, caring, icon, leader, respectful, down-to-earth, visionary, inspiring, kind, generous, humble, positive, encouraging and more.