Students remember Beta Theta Pi fraternity member

MU sophomore Paul Miltenberger was killed in a hit and run in Dallas on Easter morning.
MU students gather for a candlelight vigil held in remembrance of Paul Miltenberger Monday, April 6, 2015, at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house in Columbia, Mo.

MU students gathered Monday night on the lawn of Beta Theta Pi’s fraternity holding candles to honor the loss of MU sophomore Paul Miltenberger.

Miltenberger was killed in a hit and run in Dallas on Easter morning. He was hit by a black Dodge Charger while crossing East Mockingbird Lane at a non-crosswalk area, as reported in a Maneater article. He died on the scene.

Students bowed their heads in silence three times to honor Miltenberger with prayers. The only sounds heard were that of cars passing on College Avenue and sniffles of students fighting back tears.

Fraternity brothers patted each other’s backs throughout the ceremony to show support of one another. Both members of Beta and others attending the vigil exchanged tears and hugs afterward. MU counselors attended the event to provide additional support for anyone who needed it.

Kyle Richter, a Veritas Staff Member of the Crossing Church who spoke at the ceremony, told the story of Lazarus’ death, in which Jesus then raised Lazarus from the dead.

“Jesus stood before the tomb of his best friend and cried,” Richter said. “He wept at the great horrible tragedy that death is. And so we, too, are free to weep, to grieve the loss of Paul. It’s not unspiritual. It’s not unbelieving. The Bible tells us that’s the exact right appropriate response to this tragedy.”

Richter encouraged those attending to weep together after the vigil.

MU student Max Rowe met Miltenberger in August of last year. He said those attending the vigil could learn a lot from Miltenberger’s positive attitude toward life and should therefore attempt to emulate such.

“There’s so much more to Paul than his perfect sense of humor and ability to light up any room and put a smile on your face,” Rowe said. “Paul was a friend, someone I could always count on to have my back to help me through anything you could think of. Paul was genuine, and he told you how it was. Paul is everything that we all strive to be.”

Rowe spoke about the last time he was with Miltenberger. Rowe drove Paul to the St. Louis airport so he could fly home to Dallas. He said Miltenberger jumped out of his car while going 10 miles per hour to give their house mom a hug goodbye.

In the car, they spoke about Miltenberger’s dream of opening a mobile food truck called “Tacos and Tequila,” which would only serve tacos, Jose Cuervo and Coronas.

Rowe said Miltenberger is probably on a lawn chair in Heaven reminiscing over the fun times he had.

Sophomore Cole Montgomery described Miltenberger as a young, energetic Texan who had a love for life. Montgomery said it wasn’t until he spotted Miltenberger dancing on the bed of a truck in Greektown during Bid Day that he realized his true personality.

“Although his life was cut too incredibly short, I’m confident that he experienced more happiness in this lifetime than any one of us,” Montgomery said.

Junior Nick Swoboda said Miltenberger loved sports, and they often competed against one another.

“Everyone knew Paul had a winning personality and a winning attitude and that’s what I loved about him the most,” Swoboda said.

Swoboda gave a speech where he addressed Miltenberger.

“Paul, I would have loved to have been your roommate next year, but I guess the good Lord needed you more than I did,” Swoboda said. “I’ll love you and miss you always. Texas forever.”

After speaking, Swoboda went to his seat, leaned on one of his fraternity brother’s shoulders and cried.

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