Home and Community Options is excited to honor an individual who has been a leader in self-advocacy for many years: Milton Topness.
Milton has become a recognized self-advocate within many circles of self-advocacy. He remains one of the longest standing members of the Winona People 1st group, spanning over 20 years. Milton has served as a member of the SAM SE (Self Advocates of Minnesota- SE Region) for almost 10 years. In 2010, he received the Self-Advocate of the Year award from ARC Southeastern Minnesota. He is also an active member of the Home and Community Options-Grassroots Advocacy Task Force which has been in place for many years.
Milton is modest but not shy when it comes to speaking up. He wants to be heard, and expresses what is important to him. Milton understands the importance of the voices of the self-advocacy movement and the need for our legislators and state representatives to hear these voices. He is strong in his beliefs, while at the same time sees himself as a learner who welcomes input and ideas from others. He is very proud of how far he has come in his self advocacy and enjoys the many connections he has made with other self-advocates around the state.
Milton has served in a variety of capacities within the self-advocacy circles. He has been a member of the SAM leadership council and has served as the Media and Legislative Specialist and the Sargent of Arms. He currently is taking a step back from elected positions as he feels others need to step up and have the opportunities he has had, but he continues to work diligently in helping to plan many regional and state self-advocacy conferences. Milton continues to be an eager leader within the People 1st of Winona group and will often volunteer to lead the meetings, provide input, and assist others.
Home and Community Options has a long-standing history of self-advocates who are actively engaged in advocacy at both the local and state level. While Home and Community Options has had a strong self-advocacy presence for many years, this is the first year for this Self-Advocacy award.