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LACASA Board Member Receives Tribute

lac Bonnie Miller with Vintage LACASA T-shirt

RETIREMENT PARTY: Bonnie Miller, retiring from LACASA’s board of directors after three decades of service, displays a vintage LACASA T-shirt at retirement tribute chaired by Mike Murphy (left)

Bonnie Miller, one of LACASA’s original founders and a member of the agency’s board of directors for more than 30 years, is hanging up her cause T-shirts in Livingston County.

During a retirement tribute on September 18, 2013, the LACASA board and staff honored Miller for her vision and years of service.

Miller was part of LACASA’s “Original Four,” a group of local women who united in the late 1970s to help victims of domestic violence.

“Of course, it wasn’t called domestic violence back then,” Miller said. Assaulting a spouse or mate was not illegal at that time, said Miller, “It was considered a private family matter.” 

“In those days, we only provided help for women,” Miller said. “Now we recognize that men also can be victims of domestic violence and we provide shelter and services for them as well.”

DEDICATED SERVICE: Bonnie Miller served as LACASA board chair for 19 years and continued on as a board member

DEDICATED SERVICE: Bonnie Miller served as LACASA board chair for 19 years and continued on as a board member

LACASA was established in 1979 when a group of four women from the county joined forces. They collected $40 in donations, borrowed a desk, set up a phone line, and began helping battered and abused women.

The group opened their homes to provide shelter for women and their children who had nowhere else to turn.

This grassroots movement continued to grow, volunteers were added, the need for services accelerated, and in 1981 LACASA officially registered as a nonprofit organization.

Miller, a former journalist and retired attorney, helped shepherd LACASA through many growth phases. “Our first shelter was located in a small bungelow. As the need for our services grew, we relocated to a large Victorian home in downtown Howell.”

RETIRMENT TRIBUTE: Board Chair, Mike Murphy, and LACASA President and CEO, Bobette Schrandt (right), display specially-designed cake for Miller

RETIRMENT TRIBUTE: Board Chair, Mike Murphy, and LACASA President and CEO, Bobette Schrandt (right), display specially-designed cake for Miller

LACASA soon felt the demand for a comprehensive center that would bring a full spectrum of services to victims, survivors and their families.

Over the years, LACASA has expanded to provide more than 25 program areas for victims of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.

Today, LACASA Center serves thousands of local victims and survivors each year. Its 20-bed shelter is one small piece of the organization’s critical services. 

Programs offered at LACASA encompass a multifaceted center for children and youth who are victims of abuse and neglect, counseling programs for victims and their families who have been touched by violent crimes, legal advocacy programs for victims and survivors, and a Sexual Assault Response Center staffed by special Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.

LACASA also provides parenting classes and community education programs that raise awareness about how to prevent child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault in Livingston County.

“We have been blessed with many board members who have stayed the course and guided us through a myriad of transitions,” said Bobette Schrandt, LACASA President and CEO. “It is rare for an organization to have such longevity and loyalty among its board members.”

lac Bonnie Miller Ret Party Board“Bonnie Miller was here from the start. The insight and leadership of Bonnie and other long-term board members has allowed LACASA to be a forerunner in helping victims and their families recover and heal from traumatic life events.”

The LACASA board continues to hold fast to its original mandate that “safety should have no price.” All victim services at the agency are provided at no charge, which is only made possible through private individual donations.

During the LACASA retirement tribute, Miller was presented with gifts as well as a cake featuring the lac Bonnie Miller Tribute Cakefounding members of LACASA who saw a need in the community and met the challenge.

Bonnie and her husband, retired Livingston County Sheriff Don Homan, are relocating to Boyne City.

Perhaps the word “retirement” is not the right term for Miller’s new adventure. She plans to get involved in local advocacy organizations in Northwestern Michigan that help vulnerable children and victims of interpersonal violence.

We express our deep gratitude to Bonnie Miller for her heartfelt commitment to victims and survivors that has spanned more than three decades.  

Read more about Bonnie Miller in a Livingston Press & Argus profile by Lisa Roose-Church

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