AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– As a local business owner, John Milton has a lot of contact with the public… and he spreads a lot of information through his weekly podcast.
Friends say he is non-judgmental and always makes you feel welcomed in his presence… important attributes for someone who’s a champion for people living with HIV and AIDS.
Patricia Yates drove in from Atlanta to be at the surprise presentation of the Giving Your Best award!
“Everybody loves John and they know he gives out of his heart. He’s not looking for accolades or something extra- our grandparents raised us to be this way and to give back to the community.”
It’s clear that John Milton has a heart as big as he is tall!
“I probably have to give credit to my grandmother. She started with that, my mom, and I’ve got a good wife. She stays in my head all the time, she makes me who I am – that I cross my t’s and dot my i’s… and I appreciate all of this but this is her award!”
You can see how emotional getting this recognition , but you may not see all the things he does behind the scenes, to make sure people feel seen- and loved.
“I want to see that they are taken care of any way– financially, emotionally, spiritually, any way I can be of help. And I just try my best to do that and again, I see y’all giving these out all the time- I wouldn’t even put myself in this category! I don’t try to look for no awards, I just do it.”
HIV and AIDS activist, Wanda Collier, a former Giving Your Best award winner herself, nominated John for the award.
“Through my journey, John has been like my mentor, my strength, he’s supported me when no one else would support me… and so by doing that, it gives me the confidence to do what I need to do for the community also. To have someone who’s not positive have our back is everything.”
John says, we’re all human beings.
“We’re all human, and as you know, we all need each other. Can’t do nothing by yourself, so if someone is sick, help ’em. They black, white, help ’em, the way I grew up, the mentality I was blessed to have, I don’t look at colors, pictures faces- if a person needs helping in any kind of situation, help ’em.”
Patricia Yates has coordinated health fairs with john for 20 years. the have a great space– the backyard at his business, Jay’s Place on Olive Road.
“The goal was to do screenings, blood pressure, glucose, the whole nine yards, and just to provide those services to the seniors who don’t have adequate health care. We had nurses, doctors, for him to give up his backyard and we’ve been rolling ever since!”
Jennie: “In 20 years, we’ve seen a lot of medical advances when it comes to HIV and AIDS.”
“Yes, the mentality’s changed, people live with it now, and it’s unrecognizable now, you can’t even tell by looking at a person who has contracted it. We all live in the same community- could be neighbors, could be family members, so the medicine has changed and the mentality has changed but we still have to do what we can to protect ourselves, get the shots, take the medicines -whatever- and just change your whole mindset about it.”
Do you know someone who deserves the Giving Your Best award? Nominate them here.