A Lincoln County mom and part of the driving force of Coldwater Autism Awareness Ministry (CAAM) has been recognized on the statewide level for her volunteer service in going above and beyond to impact the autism community.
Julie Miller was presented the Lynnette Henderson Community Impact Award at the Autism Tennessee “Autism Can Work” Fall Conference held Saturday.
“While Autism Tennessee has no shortage of amazing volunteers, we believe that your efforts to impact the autism community through education, grace and a sense of humor are steadfast and unsung,” Babs Tierno, executive director, said in notifying Miller of the honor. “For those reasons, we agree that you are most deserving of this award.”
The Inaugural Lynnette Henderson Community Impact Award was presented to Lynnette Henderson for her resounding commitment to empowering the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum, according to Tierno.
“While she has been instrumental to the success of Autism Tennessee, her community impact extends well beyond the organization,” Tierno said in congratulating Miller, noting Henderson’s many other commitments. “To honor her work and impact on the autism community, we continue to celebrate her and your efforts through the Lynnette Henderson Community Impact Award.”
While expressing her appreciation for the honor, the always humble Miller credited those around her, specifically her son, Zane, for raising Autism awareness through CAAM which, in turn, raises funds to support therapies and early intervention needs of those affected locally and research into Autism causes.
“Working with the autism community has been the honor of my life,” Miller said, thanking Autism Tennessee. “This award is not me; it is God, family, church family, our awesome community and countless friends without whose love and support none of this would be possible. This award mostly belongs to Zane; it’s his courage and story that sparked the fire.”
The Coldwater Autism Awareness Ministry came as a result of Pastor George Turke of Coldwater United Methodist Church urging Steve and Julie Miller to chair a committee to begin an autism awareness ministry. The Millers, along with their sons, Zane and Will, have been tireless supporters of the ministry.
Zane has Asperger’s, a high-functioning form of autism.
“I so hope it can give others the courage to step out of their comfort zones and make things happen,” Julie said of her involvement with Autism awareness. “It’s the old, ‘If not me, then who?’
“In the Bible it says, ‘Here I am Lord, send me.’ That’s what gives us the motivation to keep on trucking even when we are overwhelmed or scared,” she added. “We just pray, and God makes a path one way or the other.”