March 12, 2011
On Sundays after church, Millicent Dangerfield and her brother and sisters used to visit congregation members who were ill or shut in that day.
"Our grandmother would send us around with that Sunday dinner," she said recently.
Other times they would sell flowers or do what they jokingly called "beg for the church," she said.
It's as close as she could come to explaining the things that fostered her spirit for helping others.
"I don't know, it's just a part of me," she said. "In my blood, I guess."
Now retired, the transplant from Maryland who rose to administrative posts in the criminal justice system there, has taken on a trio of volunteer positions that would be daunting to many. Three supervisors who wrote her nomination for 10 Who Make a Difference noticed.
Soon after moving to Jacksonville in 2004, Dangerfield began spending Saturdays as an airport ambassador at Jacksonville International Airport, logging 250 hours last year in tasks from manning the information booth to helping with security lines.
If you imagine the airport as the cover of a book that is Jacksonville, the face on that cover is Dangerfield's, wrote Bryan Long, the airport's customer service manager.
For four years she's also spent two days a month at the State Attorney's Office designing repayment plans for those ordered to pay restitution in housing, food stamp or other cases. She handles hearings in other programs as well, her nomination said.
Making decisions on behalf of 170 detainees at a juvenile justice facility in Maryland primed Dangerfield for her most treasured role.
"She readily takes on any case," said Michael Milliken, a manager for the state Department of Elder Affairs ombudsman program.
Volunteers there advocate for nursing home and other care facility residents who may complain of anything from cold coffee to mishandled medications. Last year she completed safety assessments at 14 facilities and completed 33 case investigations.
"She doesn't mind getting in there and fighting for a resident," she said.
Dangerfield takes case information home, will make calls on weekends and holidays to catch client's relatives and even debates cases with Milliken.
"I like to get the best possible solution," she said. The job seems never ending, she said, but is deeply rewarding.
"This will be the last one I give up," she said.