Goodwill’s veterans program director presents honors to fellow woman veteran

C.J. Bannister, director of Goodwill Manasota's Veterans Services Program, presents this year’s John H. McLain Woman Veteran of the Year Award to Milli Linn

Published Friday, November 25, 2016 8:00 am

SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – On November 18, Goodwill Manasota’s director of the Veterans Services Program, C.J. Bannister, had the honor of presenting Milli Linn with the John H. McLain 2016-2017 Woman Veteran of the Year award. The John H. McLain Veteran and Woman Veteran of the Year Awards, accorded by the Sarasota County Veterans Commission, recognize volunteers who work tirelessly to help veterans and their families, and active military.

Linn, who is 95, served in the Army during WWII – from 1943 to 1946 – and was discharged as a second lieutenant. She has spent many hours volunteering at the VA Outpatient Clinic on Bee Ridge Road, always greeting the veterans entering the clinic with a smile. When the new Sarasota National Cemetery opened, Linn was first in line to volunteer.

Bannister, who is a veteran of the Air Force and was hired in September of 2014 by Goodwill to lead its efforts on behalf of area veterans, was the John H. McLain 2015-2016 Woman Veteran of the Year.  Since beginning her tenure at Goodwill, Bannister has overseen the organization's efforts to provide services to returning veterans, who face heightened risks of unemployment, personal problems and homelessness. The Veterans Services Program connects veterans with necessary social services, provides emotional and physical support, offers free employment services, and distributes funds for emergency needs through its SERV (Special Emergency Resources for Veterans) program.

“Milli Linn is a wonderful example of a veteran who has seized the opportunity to positively benefit her community through her personal involvements,” said Bob Rosinsky, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota. “The brave men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families make enormous sacrifices, both during and after their service to our nation. This is why Goodwill works every day to honor our returning heroes through our veterans program.”

The Sarasota County Veterans Commission accepts nominations for the John H. McLain Veteran and Woman Veteran of the Year Awards from July 1 through October 15 annually. Recipients of these prestigious awards are selected based upon their service to other veterans, active military and their families, patriotic endeavors, educating the community about veterans’ historic impact on democracy throughout the world, and other community service engagements. This is the highest honor that the Commission bestows annually upon veterans.

“Women veterans from all walks of life have served this country during war and peacetime,” says Ted Smith, president of the Sarasota County Veterans Commission and chair of this year's Veteran of the Year Selection Committee. "As a WWII veteran, Milli brings experience, passion and dedication for veterans, their families and active military.”

The Commission presented this year’s awards at JD Hamel Park, after the Sarasota Veterans Day Parade. As Linn was unable to attend, the Commission organized a special ceremony and celebration with family and friends at Brookdale Sarasota Central Senior Living, where she resides.

PHOTO ID: Ted Smith, president of the Sarasota County Veterans Commission, with 2016-2017 Woman Veteran of the Year Milli Linn and C.J. Bannister, the 2015-2016 Woman Veteran of the Year, during the award presentation


About Goodwill Manasota

Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2015, Goodwill Manasota served 22,739 people, placed 961 people in jobs and assisted 358 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $81.3 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 41 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit