YAKIMA - Gov. Chris Gregoire and Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste joined hundreds of law enforcement officers Friday at a Yakima memorial service for three Washington State Patrol employees killed in a house fire at Zillah.
Trooper Kristopher Sperry, trooper Gary Miller and communications officer Anne Miller-Hewitt died of inhaling smoke in the Aug. 16 fire at the Millers’ home.
The 55-year-old Miller was a veteran trooper. His 54-year-old wife headed the agency’s emergency call center in Wenatchee. The 30-year-old Sperry was staying temporarily with the Millers.
Gregoire choked up briefly when she spoke of Sperry, who had served as part of the security detail for the governor’s family in Olympia. Said Gregoire, “He meant a lot to us.”
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Batiste thanked Gary Miller “for his bubbly personality and kind, kind soul.”
The governor recalled Miller-Hewitt’s calmness and professionalism even as she called 911 to report the fire that would take her life.