LIMA — February marks Black History Month in the United States, but area black leaders remind us there are historic figures still doing good work in the region.
This week, The Lima News profiles five of those inspirational community leaders, Frank Lamar, Ann Miles, Chris Jackson, Beverly McCoy and the Rev. Bob Horton. Today we look at Miles.
When Ann Miles retired from Whirlpool, she had two choices: Enjoy her retirement to its fullest or commit her full attention and time to serving the Lima community.
She chose the latter.
A member of the Lima City School board for 10 years, she’s done her fair share to contribute to the community. She’s a Lima Senior High School graduate and is very involved in the YMCA Black Achievers program, which focuses on middle and high school black children, preparing them to further their education post-high school graduation, including tutoring.
She also is an advocate for Activate Allen County, which was a grant dedicated to making the county healthier.
“Growing up, there were so many people who were influential in my life,” said Miles, now 58. “I still remember my fourth-grade teacher. She probably does not realize the impact she had on my life, how she encouraged me and really spoke into my life. It’s because of those people that helped me get through life, because I’ve had a good life, I want to do the same for others.”
She’s also a member of the board for Family Promise, which provides housing for families that do not have housing. She’s also served on the LACCA board.
She was born in Mississippi, but came to Lima when she was less than a year old. During her time in Lima, she spent 37 years at Whirlpool in the finance department, retiring three years ago.
“It’s been so great because I’ve met a lot of great people in this community over the years and the different boards and activities I’ve done,” she said. “I really have enjoyed it. It’s opened a lot of doors for me.”
The eldest of 10 children, she never had a lot of opportunities for herself. That’s why she has since created them by serving the community.
“The opportunities I’ve had and the settings I’ve been in, I would have never dreamed of,” she said. “To think that I can sit in a meeting with people in this community and they seek my advice, that’s heartwarming, it’s humbling.”
She loves the children of Lima, which is the main reason why she does what she does.
“I have a heart for the kids here in the Lima community,” she said. “Just trying to give these kids some hope, it’s why I do it.”
Black history is something she also wants to make sure is being hit hard in Lima City Schools year-round, not just in February.
“It’s so important. It bothers me sometimes that we pick one month per year to really highlight it,” she said. “I hope the teachers in the schools do it justice. I really think it should be something that’s hit on throughout the year. We’ve got to know where we come from to know where we’re going.”
Miles said she only hopes to continue to serve the Lima community in the coming years.