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Veteran employee earns award for volunteer work overseas

Published: 09/03/2013 3:47PM
By: booner

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Schauston Miller, a research professional for the Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center, located on Fort Valley State University’s campus, displays the certificate and pendant he received for his volunteer work with goats in Myanmar.

Performing acts of volunteerism can sometimes garner attention. In some instances, the people taking notice of such acts may reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C.

Schauston Miller, a research professional for the Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center located on Fort Valley State University’s campus, received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for his work with goat farmers in Myanmar. The 22-year FVSU employee received a certificate, pendant and letter from President Barack Obama for his efforts.

The award is a national honor offered in recognition of volunteer service. Miller is one of 123 people to receive the honor this year.

While in Myanmar, Miller and Dr. Will Getz, FVSU retired extension specialist and professor of animal science, met with goat farmers on a fact finding mission in the southern portion of the country near the city of Yangon. Getz and Miller fielded questions from the farmers and made recommendations as to what can make goat production more profitable.

Miller said the award speaks not only to his efforts, but the reputation of FVSU’s work with sheep and goats. As an 1890 land grant university, a part of FVSU’s mission is to provide assistance to farmers by utilizing education and research.

“It puts us in a brighter light on the international scene. When we (Miller and Getz) were going around the media already had it published that two experts would be coming from Fort Valley State University in America,” Miller said. Miller also said the trip has opened opportunities for FVSU and other institutions to help countries that produce goats, sheep and cattle.

Winrock International, one of several certifying organizations, sponsored the trip. Winrock is a non-profit organization whose mission is to sustain natural resources, assist the disadvantaged and help develop economic opportunities. The organization selects volunteers based on their field of expertise. Once selected, volunteers are sent to a country that needs their help the most.

In addition to Miller’s volunteer work in Myanmar, Miller also volunteered to help farmers in Haiti where they were breeding undersized goats.

Established in 2003, the award is issued by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. This council was created by President George W. Bush to recognize the contributions volunteers are making on behalf of the U.S. with acts of service for others.