By Karen E. Williams
When citizens are in trouble they call 9-1-1. They’re confident a First Responder will be there in minutes to help. But when a First Responder is severely injured in the line of duty, who is there to help them? Generally it is not the government. In fact, the First Responder may see medical disability income replacing only 50-60 percent of his or her income. And with long-term debilitating injuries, the First Responder may not be able to continue the second job they have held and the spouse may have to quit her or his job to care for the injured breadwinner. This leaves the family in a situation where they’re unable to pay their mortgage and meet the needs of their family. They are headed into poverty and despair.
With that dilemma in mind, in 2008 retired Metro Nashville, Tennessee Police Officer Mickey Milam formed Help the Good Guys. He had been injured in the line of duty and knew what many of his fellow first responders were facing. “My injury changed our lives,” Mickey said. “We were fortunate because my wife has a good job. We were able to refinance our home through a special hardship program and thankfully didn’t face the fate of losing everything. But others are not so lucky. Coming into my unplanned retirement I saw a need that many of my fellow First Responders have and decided to do something about it.”
Now Mickey is using his connections with the music industry in Nashville to organize benefit concerts and events wherever the need exists across the country to help severely injured Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers and Emergency Medical Technicians.
Because of the generous partnership of entertainers such as Bucky Covington, Darryl Worley, Charlie Daniels, Ronnie Milsaps, George Strait, Vince Gill, John Michael Montgomery, Kevin Bacon, Trace Adkins, Alabama’s Randy Owen and others, Help the Good Guys has held concerts, produced a bowling event and sold CDs to benefit individuals in Seattle, Little Rock, Atlanta, Birmingham and Philadelphia as well as helping the Fallen Firefighters Foundation. We’re actively looking for other local First Responders in need,” he says.
But his latest project is the one that excites Mickey the most. He is bringing together Kidde, the world’s largest manufacturer of fire safety products, Americus Studios, a Nashville-based music video producer, and the Chattanooga, Tennessee Fire Department to create a video of “PROUD,” a new song recorded by up-and-coming singer George Shingleton. First Responders will be able to use the video in their fund raising efforts to assist members of their own departments who are severely injured.
Mickey says that volunteering comes easy to him. “I grew up in a small West Tennessee farming town and was taught from an early age to help others. My parents made sure my brother and I never missed a church service. Our church concentrated on helping the older people and the poor families in our local community. Our family raised a two-acre garden and gave food to people in need. I remember many times people coming to my father asking for money or food for their families. I don’t recall him ever refusing to help someone.
“Helping others brings a tremendous sense of tranquility and happiness to my life,” Mickey continues. “It makes me realize how fortunate I am with the blessings God has given me. When I meet God and He reads from the Book of Life I hope to hear ‘This is a man who touched many lives because he cared enough to make a difference.’”
In addition to his work forming Help the Good Guys Mickey volunteers as a Little League baseball coach, is a board member for East Williamson Athletics and volunteered during the summer at Camp Hope, Vanderbilt Medical Center’s camp for children who have been seriously burned. Mickey is a resident of Nolensville, Tennessee.
Click here for more information and to donate to Help the Good Guys.
Doing Good is proud to recognize Mickey Milam as October’s Volunteer of the Month. Megan McInnis, founder of Doing Good, says “Mickey’s volunteering has impacted lives of children and families and entire communities. He embodies the saying that ‘one person can make a difference.’”
Please join the conversation about volunteerism by adding a comment. What are you doing to make a difference in the life of someone else? How does that make you feel?
Doing Good is an organization committed to promoting volunteerism in Metro Nashville by telling the stories of local volunteers on the radio and television, and in print and the Internet. By educating and inspiring others about volunteerism, Doing Good seeks to increase the number of volunteers and the number of hours per volunteer.