HANSON — Brett Miller always seems to be where people need him.
Call it fate, call it a calling, call it karma, a blessing or a curse, the Hanson resident has been there when lives have been at risk — since he was 6 years old and saved his older brother Kerry, who had fallen through the ice of a frozen cranberry bog.
It followed him through tours of duty as an Army medic in Desert Storm and Bosnia, and most recently on a flight to Los Angeles when a fellow passenger on the plane suffered a cardiac emergency.
Call it destiny, he does.
“The whole premise behind my book is all these events that occurred in my life where I have to save someone’s life,” he said during a backyard interview Tuesday, May 25. “Things happen when I’m around for some reason.”
Writing a book about that life experience, too, seems to have had a hand from fate. Now that book, “It’s a Beautiful Day to Save a Life: A Medic’s Journey to His Destiny,” [AuthorHouse, 2021, 114 pages, hardcover $26.99, softcover $13.99, E-book $3.99, available on Amazon and Kindle] will be celebrated by the business where he makes another kind of difference every day.
A book signing event is being held at 5 p.m., Thursday, May 27 at 110 Fitness, 200B Weymouth St., Rockland, where Miller runs programs for Parkinson’s patients, among others.
“I had always wanted to write a book and I had compiled multiple things in my head that I would write my book about, but I had never really organized it,” Miller said.
When the Covid-19 pandemic started, his gym was closed for four months while he continued working everyday — just fewer hours — which gave him time to write.
“I started doing some brainstorming,” he said. “I outlined it first in my mind more than on paper. I literally have notes that are on a Post-It.”
Those notes included his title for the book and a couple of chapter ideas. That developed into a nightly habit of writing a chapter. Each of the book’s 14 chapters are a something of their own short story representing a noteworthy event in his life. The writing may have been the easiest part, he said, noting that after that three-months of work it took another 10 months or so to find a publisher and go through the editing and pre-production process.
“The easiest part of writing a book is writing a book,” he said. “And then [editors] just beat it to death. They want to change your story, they want to make it marketable, they want to make it saleable. My primary purpose was not to be a New York Times bestseller, but just to share my story and be able to be a little bit vulnerable so, if it helps somebody else then I’ve achieved my goal.”
Miller is already working on book number two, this one on his experiences in building his gym and it’s programs.
“Most people don’t think they can write a book,” he said. “I originally thought that. I didn’t think I had the ability, nor the content.”
His life experiences and a desire to help others recognize that everyone faces struggles, showed him otherwise.
“Whether you have Parkinson’s Disease, or you have PTSD, or you have cancer, there’s so many commonalities to the struggle that makes it real for everybody,” he said, noting his own struggles have included attempted suicide, alcoholism and PTSD, mostly service-related.
“Bosnia was my biggest deal,” he said. “I came in after the ethnic cleansing and the massacre at Srebrenica, which is something that no one talks about.”
But he stressed it is also a story of inspiration — getting into struggles and overcoming them.
“Vulnerability is courageous as hell,” he said. “People judge no matter what, right? I don’t care. I’m at that point in my life where I get my book out, and most of the people that know me — or don’t know me — if they really dig in and look at my book, they’ll say, ‘Wow, for someone to put that on paper and be willing to share that with people…’”
He said the primary purpose is to help other people be less ashamed to admit they are struggling and need to ask for help.
Miller grew up in a rundown marina with his mom, a single mother at the time, and his brother, later moving to Norwell. He had planned to study health sciences at Northeastern University after high school, but balked at the cost and joined the Army to become a combat medic. He went into the medical equipment business while training professional boxers and using boxing to work with Parkinson’s patients in their homes when people began calling him after they saw a “60 Minutes” story in 2016 on a boxing program called Rock Steady that had the same aim.
He started 110 Fitness in Marshfield shortly after that, relocating to a bigger space in Rockland shortly after that.
Now the book “tour” begins.
Miller has already done a radio interview with WATD and is working on scheduling an appearance at the Derby Square Barnes & Noble store. He is also interested in local libraries.
He is also considering doing a podcast.
“I’m open to any ideas,” he said. “Who knows where I’ll go from here?”