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Milton Martin Honda
“The automobile business afforded me the opportunity to be at home with my family, be engaged in my community and be the kind of corporate citizen that auto dealers all over the country strive to be.”
“As a child growing up in small-town Georgia, it was clearly demonstrated to me that the local automobile dealer was the bedrock and foundation of much good work in the community,” nominee Miller said. “My retail automobile career has enabled me to touch many lives in a positive way. And for that, I will always be grateful.”
Miller graduated from Buford High School in Buford, Georgia, in 1974 where he was active in many organizations and student government. He earned a B.S. in biology at North Georgia College & State University ﴾now the University of North Georgia﴿ in Dahlonega, Georgia, in 1981, where he was president of the student body, senior class, and Sigma Nu fraternity.
After managing a jewelry store in Atlanta, Georgia, and handling national sales and franchise development for The Athlete’s Foot retailer, Miller’s career took an unexpected turn in 1993. He was overseeing a charity golf tournament for a school for disabled children when the event nearly imploded due to a torrential rainstorm.
“When people wanted a refund or refused to play in the inclement weather, I stood up on the couch in the clubhouse and told the group that we were all there for the right reason – charity, disabled children, improving the quality of life in our community and serving others,” Miller said. “Then a huge bolt of sunlight came streaming through the bay windows. The entire group erupted in laughter and applause and we wound up raising more than $200,000 for our local charity.”
And he also raised the interest of Milton Martin, a local car dealer who was at the event and impressed by Miller’s actions. “He told me that anyone who can get themselves out of a jam like that needs to be working for him,” Miller said of the potential position that would require less travel than the job he held at the time. “My wife and I already had two children, one who was profoundly disabled, and she had just given birth to our third child,” he said. He became a management trainee with the dealership and today is majority owner of Milton Martin Honda.
“The automobile business afforded me the opportunity to be at home with my family, be engaged in my community and be the kind of corporate citizen that auto dealers all over the country strive to be,” Miller said.
Miller is most proud of his role in the establishment and continued success of a school for disabled children, Challenged Child & Friends, in Gainesville. “As parents of two disabled children, my wife and I were left with virtually nowhere to turn upon their birth and had no idea how to cope with their medical, emotional and social needs,” he said. His oldest son, Cole, passed away in 2001. The program helps parents by providing education and resources, as well as a nurturing environment for the children.
In addition, Miller has been a Georgia state senator since 2010. He has served on the boards of Georgia Baptist Children's Homes and Family Ministries; Challenged Child & Friends; Field of Dreams Development (to create a playground and ball field for the disabled); Hall County Parks & Leisure Services; and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.
Of all the awards Miller has received for his good works, the most meaningful is the Rotary Club of Gainesville Man of the Year in 2013. “This is the most prestigious award in our area and it recognizes benevolence, philanthropy, community involvement and integrity,” he said.
Miller was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Teresa, have sons Carey (26) and Charlie (23) and the late Coleman Miller.