David and Cora Miller.

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ALTON - One of the biggest honors each year in Alton is the person selected as the grand marshal of the annual Halloween Parade. This year, retiring St. Louis Regional Airport Director David Miller will be the grand marshal.

David will ride in his convertible with his wife, Cora, a constant supporter of her husband and also a community servant in her own ways. The person selected for the grand marshal honor has always made a significant difference in the Riverbend region. Miller has done that not only with a complete transformation of the local airport but also in many other capacities in the community.

David said for him it was a significant accolade when he heard the news of the recognition, “I was actually blown away,” he said. “This is the 104th annual parade and I felt really honored to be a part of it.”

Cora Miller said she couldn’t be more proud of her husband for the parade grand marshal recognition.

“During my years as the airport director’s wife for these communities, we have been blessed to meet so many lovely, dedicated, beautiful, respectful people who love their community and welcome new folks into their special places,” she said. “David and I are partners in all things.”

David said he has always loved his role as the St. Louis Regional Airport Director and the tenants and people around him. As the St. Louis Regional Airport director he has been a constant professional and turned the airport around into one recognized across the Midwest and United States for its work. West Star Aviation at the airport was a little under 100 employees when he arrived and now has 500 employees. Two new large hangars have also been constructed and there are plans for more.

“I think one of my strong points is how I am able to put a team together and cover shortfalls I don’t have with the right people,” he said. “I have always wanted all the airport tenants to be successful.”

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David is a professional musician and has been a key cog in the past of the Alton Symphony, the Edwardsville Municipal Band, several other ragtag groups at nursing homes, a ham radio operator and worked with the Madison County Emergency Management and Lewis and Clark Amateur Radio Club teams.

“I am very proud of our people who work our control tower. These people are as professional as any you will find anywhere and I am very pleased to work with them. I have been very involved in the Riverbend Growth Association and I am still on the board. I was the chairman of the Growth Assocation in 2008. I have also been on the Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois.”

David said Cora has been his “rock” and without her he feels he wouldn’t even be alive and well.

“In December 2001, I thought I was having problems adjusting to altitude but she said no I don’t think it is altitude. I ended up having heart problems and triple bypass surgery December 5, 2001. She rescued me. She is probably the best dietician I know without being a professional. I am also so proud of Cora.”

David said he and Cora have no immediate plans to leave the area and their plans are to continue to live out of their home locally. The two have 13 grandchildren scattered all over the United States and both are still involved in a lot of volunteer activity, music, the Legendary Mustang Sanctuary, and much more.

“We both love it here,” David said.

David said the ride down Broadway on Saturday night with his wife, Cora, at his side will be one of the most memorable moments of his life and he is so thankful East End Improvement Association for the honor.

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