Dr. Michael E. Miner, retired neurosurgeon, received the DAR Community Service Award from Old Chisholm Trail NSDAR. Community Service Chair Bobby Hill and Regent Sandra Jo LaVigne presented the award on March 7. Several civic leaders and Dr. Miner’s family members attended the award presentation at the Museum of International Cultures in Duncanville.
The award recognizes someone whose volunteer efforts have benefited their community. Dr. Miner has worked tirelessly to encourage children in the love of reading. He originated the Duncanville Reads program after volunteering to read at Fairmeadows Elementary School in Duncanville. Upon learning from the school librarian that it had been years since an author visited the school, due to lack of funds, he came up with a plan to remedy that situation.
Duncanville Authors Program
Dr. Miner suggested that the nine elementary schools in Duncanville share the cost of lodging, food, and transportation for an author. The author would be chosen by the librarians to visit all nine schools monthly for one year, at an estimated cost of $11,000. Each school raised $500 to support this initiative, and the balance was donated by Duncanville Education Foundation and the Duncanville ISD Superintendent.
A criteria for each author selected was that the he or she look like the children in the schools. So there were men, women, black, white, and Indians chosen, most of whom had been grade school teachers. The program was a big success, and kicked off its second year in January, 2020. One author even brought a large supply of blank hard cover books. There were two blank pages so that all the children could be authors.
As President of the Duncanville Education Foundation, Dr. Miner hopes to extend the authors program to DISD middle schools so every student meets one age appropriate author. He encourages retired people to volunteer to read to students. He personally built and installed a Little Free Library at Fairmeadows Elementary. The books are available to any student to “Take a Book, Return a Book.”
Property Improvement Program (PIP)
A board member of the City of Duncanville Neighborhood Vitality Commission, Dr. Miner serves as Vice President of the nonprofit Property Improvement Program (PIP) sponsored by First Methodist Church of Duncanville. The City of Duncanville, in partnership with the Neighborhood Vitality Commission, accepts applications from local homeowners who need help with upkeep of their homes and yards. The services are free to the homeowner, and besides assisting a resident in need, helping revitalize Duncanville neighborhoods.
PIP Days happen in the spring and fall each year, and workers are all volunteers from the community. Private individuals, civic groups, and area businesses donate funds for the materials. Volunteers do outside work only on single story homes. They also paint, cut down trees and shrubs, clean up yards, put up and/or repair fences, repair siding, and power wash sidewalks. The group completed work on 30 homes last year, and Dr. Miner participated in every project.
Dr. Miner is Rotary Club President
He is serving a second term as President of the Rotary Club, which places flags of the USA and Texas flags all over the city on national holidays. The Rotary Club partners with the Duncanville Lions Club for the Relay for Life, raising funds for cancer research. One of Dr. Miner’s goals as President is to revamp the Rotary scholarship program. He would use the $4,000 scholarship he sponsors in Scottsburg, Indiana, in memory of his late wife as a pattern.
A graduate of the Citizens on Patrol (COPS) program sponsored by the Duncanville Police Department, Dr. Miner is among the volunteers who assist in community efforts and events. These activities include parades, bicycle and 5k races, July 4th events, and searching for lost children and adults.
A marathon bike rider, Dr. Miner has biked 7,000 to 8,000 miles in races the last few years. Most of the races were in Texas, but he also rode in the Annual Great Bicycle Ride across 450 miles in his home state of Iowa. Proceeds from that race provide free bicycles for kids.
He is a retired Professor of Neurosurgery at UT Southwestern, and served as Chair of Neurosurgery Departments at Ohio State University and UT Health Science Center in Houston. He spent 10 years as a medical missionary in Latin America. A Captain, retired, US Army Reserves, Dr. Miner is the father of three and grandfather of two.