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Senior shoots for disc golf world record to spotlight human trafficking

Valenti School of Communication student makes May 17 attempt to bring attention to human rights issue

Jack J. Valenti School of Communication senior Cody Miller is training at local disc golf courses to break the world record for the most holes played in 24 hours.

Miller aims to complete 1,800 disc golf holes – breaking the record of 1,620 – in 24 hours. He will commence play (rain or shine) at 9 a.m., May 17 in Bobby Ford Park in Richwood, Texas (near Lake Jackson in Brazoria County).

Breaking this record is a point of pride for Miller, but the feat’s ultimate goal is more meaningful to him.
As part of his attempt at breaking a Guinness World Record, Miller aims to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking.

He is raising funds for Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition (HRRC). This alliance combines the efforts of local nonprofit organization, faith-based groups and law enforcement agencies in an effort to combat human trafficking.

According to a report from the federal government, Houston’s Interstate 10 corridor is the number one trafficking route in the United States. Recent data suggests that Houston is home to 6,000 runaways annually, and one out of every three children who flees home is a potential victim of trafficking.

“This is an issue that I’ve become passionate about, and working on this world record is a good way of bringing attention to it,” Miller said.

Miller became familiar with human trafficking through his involvement with Houston Lutheran Campus Ministry. Pastor Brad Fuerst invited HRRC speakers to campus to enlighten students on the growing problem of human trafficking.

The topic particularly resonated with Miller, who has a close friend that has been affected by human trafficking. An avid disc golfer, Miller decided to put his recreational talents to good use.

“I heard stories from one of my friends, who suffered through this. I felt like I should do something,” he said. “I also have been interested in breaking the Guinness World Record for disc golf. It made sense that I should try to combine these two goals.”

As he approaches his date with disc golf destiny, Miller is accepting donations to benefit HRRC. Donors can contribute through this website.

To date, Miller has raised $950, but he wants to do more than gather donations. He hopes that his long day of throwing discs will increase awareness of this problem in Houston and the United States.

The reaction to this endeavor has been positive, Miller said. Family and friends will be there to support him during his 24-hour challenge. To break the record, Miller must complete each hole in approximately one minute. The course in Richwood, Texas (located at Oyster Creek and Pin Oak), he said, is designed with shorter distances between holes.

Miller’s efforts to bring awareness to human trafficking complement his other outreach initiatives. During the recent spring break, Miller ventured to Detroit with other Houston Lutheran Campus Ministry students to assist the city’s homeless population. Alongside ministry members, he also has volunteered at the Houston Food Bank.

Miller grew up in Houston and attended the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas. He transferred to UH and is preparing for a public relations career through the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication. He also is honing his communications skills as an intern with the Houston Apartment Association.

He is also president of the UH Water Polo Club. Miller expects to graduate in spring 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

“Through my experiences on campus and with the ministry, I’ve grown personally and professionally,” he said. “I’ve gained leadership skills and have had invaluable experiences and opportunities. I’ve made some great friends here and met many helpful people. Overall, it’s been a very good fit for me.”

- By Mike Emery