Lisa Milner – Veteran Hero Awards
2020 Veteran Hero Awards

Lisa Milner

Veteran Volunteer

Organization American Legion Tulsa Post 1

Position Past Commander/Chaplain

Everyone knows her Legz, she has never told me how she got this nickname; but when you see her, you kind of just know...lol She started volunteering helping veterans when she once became the veteran who was in need of help. It was in October 2004 and she was looking at losing her home and she was advised to go to the American Legion and seek help. They did, they helped her to find a new place to live and paid her first-month rent and deposit because I was still a bratty kid back then. They even came out and helped us move from one end of the town to the other side of town from a 3 bedroom house to a 2-bed room apartment and they loaded everything up and unloaded and they took me to get something to eat afterward to allow her to think for a little while. She has just the day before buried someone we both cared for deeply, he too worked for the government and died on the clock. After a few days if her pity party she got up and got dressed and made some chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies and came down to the Legion to say Thank you, the very next day she was working as a trainee for as a Service Officer. soon she would rise up in the Post through various officer positions and she became the 1st black female Commander in the state of Oklahoma, then she was selected to go to the National American Legion College in Indianapolis. She not only helped veterans and their families.; she also visited schools and talk with the students about being in the military as a woman, about learning about the Constitution and The Bill of Rights, and how to properly respect the Flag, and about bullying. When she learned about the Ms. Veteran America competition, she decided to enter it, never thinking she would make into it, much less that she would be a Top 25 finalist at her age then. She only got involved to help bring awareness to how woman are treated that become homeless, she said she never dreamed in a million years she would get that far into the competition. It was hard to find sponsors for her because no one around here had ever heard of this program. She went to D.C. for the Finals, and that was as far as she got as a Top 25 Finalist. But she said it wasn't about her, it was about the message to the public. As each of the women was practicing their catwalk, the committee would assign a different song for each woman based on their personality. Her's was RESPECT, by Aretha Franklin, she said she was hoping it would have been a more modern song, but she accepted it. She had received a Congressional Citation for her community service volunteerism from then-Congressman Jim Bridenstine, who now works for NASA. Back in 2010, she moved away from her home town of Tulsa, Oklahoma to Zena, Oklahoma, it's the rural area between Jay and Grove Oklahoma. It takes her 2 hours to drive into Tulsa from there, it's way out in the boonies, dirt roads and she lives in a broken down, raggedy mobile house. She says it has potential, just like her and she can at look see it looking like something that it was never supposed to be, just like her. Sometimes critters find a way to get in and scare the daylights out of her when she walks upon, but she's not moving even with the crazy rednecks that at first tried to scare her away. She also volunteers at her church food bank and soup kitchen. But, this past couple of years she has had some major surgeries, so it kind of slowed her down. This summer from June and July, she has had 2 more surgeries and this past month August she was involved with a head-on collision car accident and this has stopped her from doing her physical therapy on her shoulder, it is driving her crazy, but she is stubborn and is doing her version of exercises to keep it from stiffening up on her. She's waiting on the V.A. to finally release her to get back to her actual therapy sessions. She also has a new job as becoming the American Legion's very 1st superhero., she will still be doing her job in the schools or when schools return to some form of normalcy again, but she will be dressed in a superhero costume in hopes that the children will be more interested in learning about our great country. But with the COVID, it has been a blessing since she has had these 2 surgeries this summer and then the car accident; this gives her time to recover fully and get back into her what she calls superhero shape. I haven't seen the costume yet, no one has, she's waiting she says for the right time. She is a service-connected disabled veteran, but if ever get to she see her in action, you could never tell. She is also Teaching veterans how to overcome health issues by taking care of their bodies and because since they know how she once was when she first got into the V.A. health care system with all of the pills and pain patches and how she is now, hardly ever taking anything, they listen to her. She has this dream of one day owning an old steam-paddle boat and turning it into a natural wellness clinic for veterans and first responders, its an 8-week course, where they learn everything about how the body reacts to various things. She is always finding these types of courses and if she has the money she goes and she asks questions she tries the things on herself and if she gets good results she shares them. I have a homeless outreach ministry called For The Least of These and I see lots of homeless veterans out there and when they ask me my name they look at me and ask me if she is my mother, I say yes, they tell me how she helped them or tried to help the, how she always greeted them with a strong firm handshake and she would actually listen to them and at the end of the meeting, she would ask them if they believed in prayer and she would pray for them right there on the spot and then she would end it with a huge hug and a book called the Desire of Ages. They would say how that was more important than her just filing a claim for them. So, even if you don't select her, I just wanted you to know about her and maybe you can tell someone else how helps veterans with their broken down-home, that could come and help her with hers or maybe someone who looking to invest in the steamboat wellness clinic ideal. She also loves finding broken furniture taking it home fixing it up and giving it away to some veteran who is looking to fix their home up. She doesn't make much money and what money she has, she uses it mostly on fixing things in her house or paying off a huge debt she acquired while taking care of her mother, during her mother's last 2 years. But, she is much moved by many people because of her heart and how she tries to help people, even if she's in the store and she sees a person wearing a military ball cap she always walks over to them and either shakes their hand or she gives them a hug, complete strangers and they look puzzled by her actions, but she says he hopes one day when she gets old ( she will turn 58 this November 12, 2020) that some young person does the same for her and not assume she's wearing her husband or boyfriends' cap. She is my mom and she never ceases to amaze me with things she thinks of and tried to do and because she instilled into me a sense of patriotism and volunteerism as a youth and what a real good Christian man is supposed to be, I am the young man that I am today. and I know she would be mad at me for nominating her for this, but; I think the whole world should know about this amazing woman, don't you? Thank you for taking your time out to read of a little bit of the many sides of this woman everyone affectionately calls Legz and that Legz with a "z" on the end, because her legs are extra long...lol
Lisa Milner
VHA 2020 Veteran Volunteer nominee Lisa Milner