Volunteer Spotlight: Elouise McMillian

Keep Irving Beautiful volunteer Elouise McMillian

“A Servant’s Heart” is one of Elouise McMillian’s favorite phrases, and describes her beautifully.

This retired veteran of both the U.S. Army and Air Force has become a well-known figure in Irving, Texas. She is frequently spotted walking or riding her bicycle, as she makes her way to give of her time and energy to many worthwhile organizations.

Keep America Beautiful affiliate Keep Irving Beautiful (KIB) is on her route from home to church, and she often stops by to see what volunteer opportunities are available. She has volunteered with KIB for more than 10 years. Her presence not only brightens everyone’s day, but makes any KIB event run as smoothly as possible. Elouise, the retired Army colonel, is the epitome of a “trooper.”  She has braved the elements – heavy rain, high winds, freezing or scorching temperatures – to perform the duties of the job for which she volunteered.  

Her organizational and delegation skills make her the perfect team leader at the registration area of an event, particularly at large-scale cleanups like the Great American Cleanup or KIB’s Trash Bash. Elouise makes sure that proper procedures are followed and release forms are signed. She always does so with a warm, welcoming smile.

Elouise takes every opportunity to educate and engage others, particularly young people. One Saturday, KIB's collegiate Service Learning students were at KIB's office preparing to conduct a neighborhood recycling survey designed to help determine why a certain area had low participation in Irving’s recycling program. As she walked by the office, she noticed something was happening and popped in to see what was going on. All she needed to hear was that the goal was to increase neighborhood recycling and she was on board. Her absolute joy in sharing what volunteering means to her was inspirational to the students, most of whom were one-third her age.    

During a local television interview during a particularly chilly Great American Cleanup event, she said, “If you come with a giving heart, a servant’s heart, you’ll enjoy it. It’s a wonderful thing.” 

"She radiates energy, enthusiasm, and a love for her community as well as the people who live there," said Rick Hose, coordinator of KIB. "Here at Keep Irving Beautiful, we think Elouise McMillian is pretty great."