Denise Milliken has been named the Union County Woman of the Year in recognition of her volunteer work with many county organizations.
Milliken was nominated by Kathy Bragg, who serves as the CEO of the Community Shelter of Union County.
Milliken has also volunteered with Friends of the Library, First Presbyterian Church and Union Symphony. Representatives from each organization endorsed Milliken’s nomination.
Bragg nominated Milliken for her commitment to the shelter, especially as decoration committee chair for the shelter’s Boots and Bow Ties event. Bragg wrote in her nomination that Milliken is among a handful of volunteers who are first to offer help when it is needed. Milliken has helped provide services in the shelter’s kitchen or pantry along with her work for Boots and Bow Ties.
Sometimes, Milliken has had a budget of less than $250 for the Boots and Bow Ties event, which hosts between 300 and 400 people. Bragg said Milliken decorates the venue beautifully regardless, making sure to be aware of every dollar spent.
“Rather than sacrifice the experience for the guest, she pours hundreds of volunteer hours into her projects to find ways to repurpose, craft, beg and borrow from others to create venue experiences that are award and magazine-worthy,” Bragg wrote.
Because of Milliken’s commitment to putting on an extravagant fundraiser, Bragg said the shelter has doubled its net proceeds from Boots and Bow Ties. The money has allowed the shelter to increase the number of moves back to independent housing for families experiencing homelessness.
“I enjoy giving back to the community and I enjoy seeing the faces of the kids that I help,” Milliken said. “When we volunteer at the shelter, it is such an honor to help out those that are in need.”
Milliken has lived in Union County for 25 years. She said the people in the area inspire her to volunteer more.
“It’s just a wonderful area,” Milliken said. “There’s a wonderful, giving atmosphere in this county.”