By NJ Clausen
Summer is here! Beautiful ‘Carolina Blue’ skies, 4th of July celebrations, trips to the mountains or the beach and the opportunity to make memories that bring warmth to the winter months. This month I have the pleasure of introducing you to a woman who loves to laugh and brings joy to many…. Lisa Miller.
Lisa was born in Virginia, and as a child of parents who both worked, she spent a great deal of her childhood with older adults. Her before and after school time was with her Great-Grandmother Lottie and Great-Aunt Shirley, and they taught her to read at 3 years of age and how to sew and iron. Lisa smiled as she shared that to this day, she cannot iron without thinking of them, as they let her iron pillowcases when she was young, and she thought that was one of the most wonderful things ever! Lisa also remembers a Great-great aunt who would come to the kitchen where they would all sit at the table, talk and drink coffee. This was in a small, four room house that did have running water inside, but the bathroom was outside. Every Sunday 30-40 people would be coming to Sunday luncheon at this house…and if you were not there, you better have a good excuse!
Gardening was always a big part of her life—her family always grew a lot of produce themselves. Growing up there were many cousins and dogs running around, and she enjoyed being part of this big, close family. They rode bikes, played tag, climbed trees and put on puppet shows. Lisa also loved to read, draw and paint.
When Lisa was 11 years old, the family moved to a small-town community in Tennessee. Most of the neighbors were boys around her brother’s age, and Lisa spent time reading or doing art. Lisa feels fortunate that she has grown up in small rural communities where everybody knows everybody, and people looked out for each other. In high school, Lisa enjoyed her English, Art, History and Science classes, was in a Christian based girls club and the Students Against Drunk Drivers club, now known as Students Against Destructive Decisions. Her graduating class had 125 students.
After high school, Lisa attended East Tennessee State University, and majored in Business Administration and Marketing. Shortly after graduating she married Rod (whom she had met in high school during her senior year in drama club) and they moved to Dallas, Texas. Lisa loved the Dallas/Fort Worth area, although with its millions of inhabitants, it was far different than the rural communities of her youth. The newly married couple relied on each other and made a network of friends from work and church. Lisa shared that since they started dating in high school, each week they have gone to church together. For the 7 years that they were in Texas, Lisa worked in the Louisville Chamber of Commerce, working her way up from starting as an Administrative Assistant, then a Program Director followed by Tourism Director and became Vice President before they relocated in 1999 for Rod’s new job in Greensboro.
They decided they wanted to be centrally located as they were not sure where Lisa would work so they chose Kernersville to be their home. They found an older, established neighborhood in which to raise their children. When the kids were in school and daycare, Lisa wanted to go back to work and started volunteering at the Shepherd’s Center. Months later, Lisa saw an ad in the paper for a non-profit organization in Kernersville who was looking for a manager. Lisa asked Heather, the Executive Director and Ruth, the Director of Development at the Shepherd’s Center if they knew anything about the ad. Heather replied that she did, and was Lisa looking for a job? Lisa replied that she was, and Heather asked, “Would you like to talk to us?” The Senior Center Director had given notice, and they all knew each other from Lisa’s volunteering. After some talking and discussion, Lisa started working in 2000, and has been there ever since, managing the enrichment programs.
Some of her favorite memories include: church and KES events, her children’s sporting events, Spring Folly, 4th of July fireworks, being outdoors with the family and her current passion, the Carolina Thunderbirds Hockey Team! As Lisa spoke, the love of family was brightly shining through, as well as pride in the accomplishments of her children.
Lisa truly believes that Kernersville is a wonderful place to raise children, and a wonderful community to live in, work in and be in… that it is phenomenal! The diversity of people she has met from all walks of life is so special, and it all works together to make a beautiful community.