Blessed to be a blessing
By Kristin E. Van Nort
The walls in Paul Milburn’s office at Paul Milburn Acreages tell a story of a couple who work hard to make the world a better place. Photos with family and with dignitaries, service awards, and newspaper clippings display the deeply rooted love Paul and Ann Milburn have for their community and for public service.
The Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation recently honored Paul and Ann with the Jim Egan Legacy Award. During the May 28 report to the 2012 Annual Conference, Bishop Hayes and Bill Junk, Foundation president, presented the award, and lay and clergy delegates responded with a standing ovation for the couple from Shawnee.
"It is our honor to recognize Paul and Ann Milburn. They have been instrumental in making great things happen for ministries in our Conference. They are so humble, and I know this award is hard for them to receive, but I want them to understand the depth of our gratitude for how they are making this world better by their generosity," said Bill as he presented the award.
Longtime members of Shawnee-St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Paul and Ann have been instrumental in establishing the permanent endowment program at St. Paul’s to enhance the church’s ministries.
Paul believes strongly in United Methodist camps. He believes camping is a place for youths to grow in their relationship with God. As a way to fund new cabins at Canyon Camp—our United Methodist camp near Hinton—Paul and Ann offered a challenge gift. Their challenge amount was matched by other donors, churches and individuals, and two cabins are being constructed.
"Our young people have the opportunity to grow spiritually at our church camps. Many of our ministers felt the call to become ministers while at camp," said Paul.
Most recently Paul and Ann offered a challenge gift for Neighborhood Services Organization’s capital campaign. They are inspiring Oklahoma United Methodist churches to raise $100,000 for NSO and will match the funds raised. NSO is a mission to the poor in Oklahoma City.
The Milburns have a love for many charities, including the Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Salvation Army, the YMCA, and Groundswell, which is an organization developing clean water wells in countries that do not have clean water. They also sponsor student-tutoring programs at Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma Baptist University.
"Ann and I are very blessed and feel that my business has been more profitable because of how we contribute to worthy causes where the needs are urgent," said Paul. "It is our ambition to make a difference."
The Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation instituted the Jim Egan Legacy Award in 2003. The award recognizes persons who model Christian stewardship and philanthropy. As an original incorporator of the Foundation, Jim Egan of Muskogee exemplified stewardship and dedicated his life to United Methodism.
Among past recipients of the Jim Egan Legacy Award: Richard and Norma Small, Dail West, Bob and Cissy Parker, Elliott and Lu Fenton, Jean and Joe Holliman, and Glenn and Veronica Cox.