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One man's passion for music is helping families with ALS return to some kind of normalcy

Tom Miller, founder of Cripple Creek Music Festival
Posted at 10:23 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 15:02:33-05

FORT MITCHELL, Ky. — Nearly three months after his death, Tom Miller's legacy continues to help others. He was diagnosed with ALS in 2015, and he used that as the inspiration to start the nonprofit organization Winning With ALS. The charity's signature event, the Cripple Creek Music Festival has raised thousands for the families of people diagnosed with ALS

“As hard as we may try, we don’t create our own legacies,” Miller said in 2018. “It’s the people around you that you leave behind.”

Winning With ALS website showing Tom Miller

His wife is carrying on his legacy.

“Our mission and goal is to give funding to kids who have parents who are living with ALS,” Winning With ALS executive director Andrea Miller said. “The purpose and the reason Tom did it – he didn’t want things to change for his kids. He wanted them to have normalcy. That was the most important thing.”

The Cripple Creek Music Festival was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Miller said she’s optimistic about holding a festival in Tom’s honor this October.

“Tom chose the bands last year,” she said. “And we didn’t get to do it.

Cripple Creek Music Festival

But he also chose the bands at this year’s festival – since they all agreed to come back. Friends say he would have appreciated that.

“Having people together. Laughing, joking, listening to music. Smiling,” Winning with ALS board member Jamie Lusk said. “And then being able to give something at the end.”

For those who knew him, it’s exactly what Tom would have wanted.

“He grew more in the last five years than he did in the first 20 that I knew him,” Lusk said. “He’s a gatherer. He brings people together.”

Tom Miller, founder of Cripple Creek Music Festival

In 2018, Tom said he hoped he made an impact and that it carried on after he was gone.

“He was kind and generous,” Andrea Miller said. “And that he had faith.”

Winning the ALS is hosting several fundraisers over the next two months. The first is a bourbon raffle. Tickets can be bought online for $100 and includes the chance at a few rare bourbons – that drawing is March 22. Molly Malone’s in Covington will have live music raising money for the organization.