PFC Mykel Miller, U.S. Army
On September 6th, 2007, PFC Mykel F. Miller of the U.S. Army was killed in action during his first tour to Afghanistan under Operation Enduring Freedom. To honor the 10th anniversary of his death, his mother Maria Miller asked Tempe Trophy to help her create a bronze cast plaque which was cemented under a bench at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona.
Mykel joined the Arizona Army National Guard Phoenix and completed his basic training in Georgia after graduating from Desert Vista High School in 2006. The 19-year-old hero had a deep passion for motorcycles and was even part of the “Devil Riders” club. Today he survives by his loving family, his mother Maria, stepfather David, and two younger brothers.
Honoring a Fallen Hero
This past September 6th, Mykel’s family, friends, and platoon got together at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona where his plaque was unveiled. His mother Maria told us that the person at the cemetery who mounted the plaque under the bench said he’d seen many plaques and this was the most beautiful one. We are glad that his family loved the plaque.
The Bronze Cast Plaque Process
Due to the extensive work needed to create a bronze cast plaque this project began early in May of this year. Mykel’s mother sent us a rough sketch of what she wanted the plaque to look like and I took the photos she sent and designed a real-life version. We went back and forth with edits and eventually came out with the final design.
Tempe Trophy first approached a bronze casting company who told us that the job wouldn’t be able to be done due to the details in the image. We couldn’t give up that easily on such an important memorial. The second company we spoke to, Matthews International, worked with us to get it done. Together, we made a few adjustments to the design, and they had us double the size of the plaque from 9 x 12 inches to 18 x 24 inches. The larger design ended up fitting really well under the large bench. Matthews International even expedited the creation of the plaque in order for us to get it to Maria before the ceremony date.
After designing this plaque and researching a bit about Mykel, his story and the love he receives from his family has touched me emotionally. The meaningful projects we receive such as baby announcement plaques to engraving wedding cake cutters to even the quirky fantasy football trophies allows our work to feel more personal. We feel connected to our customers and it makes working at Tempe Trophy so very rewarding. One of the best feelings is seeing the look in the eyes of a customer who loves the item they received from us. Tempe Trophy thanks all of its customers for bringing in stories that can stick with us forever.