PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - To say Carl Miller is determined would be a huge understatement. Twenty years ago, he was shot four times during a robbery and left paralyzed from the chest down. Despite that setback, he's spent the past 15 months refurbishing a boat in Pascagoula. Wednesday morning, he and his crew set sail.
When asked why he wanted to become a shrimp boat captain, Miller explained, "Because it's a challenge, and I love challenges. Plus, I love the water. I love boating, and my favorite thing in the world, my favorite sport is fishing."
His crew is just as determined to make his dream come true, scaling new heights to make sure that happens. One of them is Co-captain Greg Smith.
"I'm just going to let him be the captain. It's his boat, and I'm just running it for him. It's pretty exciting, and once we get going it will be alright," Smith said.
Before they get going, the Dora Mae and her crew receives a blessing. Miller then boards the ship for her maiden voyage, but not before a getting loving hug from his wife, Oralia. Miller knows he didn't do this alone.
"All my friends, well they just stood behind me and I just bless them all. Thank you very much for all the help," Miller said.
As much as getting on this shrimp boat and fulfilling his dream means to Miller, it perhaps means even more to his wife. She said he has been an inspiration.
"It makes me so very happy, because he's waited so long for this to happen. Now that it's happening, he was so bound and determined to do it, it's happening, it's real and it's alive and it's going to happen. I just admire him. I admire him truly," Oralia said.
You can't be a captain without issuing a few orders. Oralia looks to the heavens with tears of joy. Then, as the lines are untied, and the engines fires up, Miller has just one thing left to say.
"Oh, I feel great and I'm ready to work," Miller said.
Ready to work making a living on the water, and more importantly, making a dream come true.
After leaving Pascagoula on Wednesday morning, Miller and his crew are headed to his home in Galveston, TX, a journey that will take about five days. They plan to catch a lot of shrimp on the way.