Carolyn Bogott: Burroughs motivated to give back to Austin

Published 5:52 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

When our branch of the American Association of University Women discussed having this column in the newspaper, we were thinking of all the women who make Austin a great community.

Milly Burroughs

Some of these women rarely get recognition because they just keep showing up, quietly, to volunteer wherever there is work to be done. Milly Burroughs is one of those people. She has given so much and yet is very modest about her long and wide service.

Milly says her motivation is to “give back,” and she certainly does! Her volunteering started with church where she has taught Sunday school and vacation Bible school, while she also sang in the choir and participated in women’s circle activities. When her daughter became interested in theater, Milly became a volunteer with Matchbox Childrens Theatre working on costuming and serving on the board.

When Milly and her husband, Jim, retired, “the scut work” on transforming the Paramount Theater was beginning. The Burroughs were there daily, “deconstructing” and then reconstructing. The building had last been used as a bar/disco and had then stood empty for some time, so there was much to be done. Milly emphasizes that there were lots of volunteers involved. Once the theater was operational, she became part of a group of loyal volunteers doing cleaning duties, ushering, selling tickets, working on concessions and whatever else needed to be done. She also was a long-time Paramount Board member and served as both president and secretary.

Working with Evie Mohrfeld of Evie’s Travel is another long-time activity. Milly does the posters and articles for the Senior Center newsletter about trips being offered by Evie.

She served on the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center Board for several terms. At the Nature Center, she volunteered at open houses, Halloween Warm-Ups, and other events, and also worked on the printed program for the annual Thanksgiving Feast fundraiser. She was named the Nature Center Volunteer of the Year in 2009.

For five years, Milly chaired the Friends of the Library biannual used book sales. Again, she gives credit to the many other volunteers.

Being a member of the Mower County Historical Society board got Milly involved in the major reorganization of the collection. The items had been stored in many different buildings and it was decided to have one building serve as the Collection Building. At one time the Historical Society had accepted items that simply were old, whether they had provenance in Mower County or not. Milly and Sue Grove spent days “cleaning out stored items and checking them against computer records to ascertain if they were connected to Mower County. Some items were torn, dirty, or duplicates, and they were set aside for evaluation by the curator. “

Almost every volunteer activity in town has had the benefit of Milly’s diligent service. For the ArtWorks Festival, Milly co-chaired the Authors Committee for five years, and then came back to that last year. Page Turners has had years of Milly’s service. School volunteering included reading with students at Sumner Elementary, as well as mentoring with the Science Fair Mentoring Program.

Milly also serves on the Pillars of Austin Committee, the group who receives recommendations and then chooses those to be honored on a pillar. She stepped outside her usual supporting role and did a wonderful job making one of the announcements at the ceremony for the Pillars this summer.

Milly says, “Both Jim and I feel that God has been very good to us, so we want to share our time and talents as best we can.” She gets great satisfaction from her volunteer activities, and she recommends that others try it, and they may find they like it, as well.

Thank you, Milly Burroughs, for all your contributions to the fabric of our community!!!

For more information about the Austin Branch of AAUW, contact Sue Grove  sue.grove@riverland.edu  or Carolyn Bogott  csbogott@charter.net. The American Association of University Women, now AAUW, is open to anyone who has completed a two-year degree or beyond.  AAUW welcomes men who support our objectives and there are student memberships available.  AAUW has been empowering women since 1881.  We support equity and education for women.  Scholarships are offered, as well as help in litigation in cases dealing with sex discrimination.  We are the most important and highly respected research and lobbying organization dealing with women’s issues such as equal opportunity and job equality.