The Sunday our daughter was killed our world changed.Laurie Millard (Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Sertoman)
Who am I? I am Laurie Millard and I am all those things you see above, but I am also a survivor. In 2014, my oldest daughter Brianna Smith was killed walking along the shoulder of Highway 138, near Llano, CA. A semi-truck struck her when it veered onto the shoulder of the road striking her and killing her instantly. The Sunday our daughter was killed our world changed. Since the accident, I have raised my autistic, mentally ill, six-year-old grandson, Daniel, full time.
Two years after my daughter’s death, the Brianna Brandy Millard Smith’s Happy Children Memorial Scholarship Fund was founded by my husband David and myself. The fund helps families in recovery from addiction with food, toys, clothes and, when we can, a stipend towards rent.
Laurie Millard and Family Make a Move
In 2006, we moved from Valencia to Lake Elizabeth where David established his own heating and air company. Brianna helped David start the company with the DBA, business license, and various other things necessary to set up a business. AC Dave Heating and Air was born fulfilling David’s dream to own his own business.
Not long after our move to Lake Elizabeth, we were introduced to Leona Valley Sertoma and soon were members. This lead to me becoming the editor for their newsletter, “Salutations”, something I enjoyed doing for many years.
A tragic event can bring out the best in people, as they will often reach out offering support. Sertoman do more than offer, they jump in to action. They are a force to be reckoned with. You don’t realize how much until you find yourself on the receiving end. Sertomans really know how to step up. Members picked up the food for Brianna’s service for us, and they set it up, and I think they helped serve, too. Honestly, I don’t remember as that day was a blur. I remember feeling overwhelmed at their support, generosity and love. It took my breath away what the members did for our family.
In Service to Others
Leona Valley Sertoma puts on a variety of events every year and one weekend, every year, my grandson Daniel and I join with other members of Leona Valley Sertoma in collecting toys, food and money. These items are distributed to families in our local communities that might need a little help. Daniel and I also help decorate tables at these events and I have often helped serve desserts at their annual Senior Dinner.
Leona Valley Sertoma continues to be there. From guiding my footsteps, helping with donations, and much more. With their help, BBMS Happy Children was able to help 11 families in 2020. We received turkeys, toys, canned goods along with other donations from our communities that we passed on to 11 grateful families. Sertomans are an amazing bunch of people. I should know, I have experienced it first-hand.
David, Daniel, and I are forever grateful to Leona Valley Sertoma for their support, leadership and, most importantly, the friendships we enjoy with the members. Going forward, my hope is to see the BBMS Happy Children Memorial Fund continues to grow and to make the Leona Valley Sertoma members proud of their efforts in helping to make that a reality.
For those who might not know, SERTOMA is an acronym for “SERvice TO MAnkind”, it’s what Sertoma is all about.
Laurie provided the information and photographs for this article. We look forward to bringing you more posts from our Sertoma members giving you the opportunity to know them better. If you haven’t already, complete the sign up form in the right-hand column to be alerted to new blog posts from Leona Valley Sertoma.
– Tom Smith, Webmaster
BEAUTIFUL story ~~ beautiful family ~~ so proud to know that the Millard family represents our non-profit organization ~~ the prime example of “Service to Mankind” // how did we ALL get so lucky?
Thank you, Tom for making this new blog a reality. We couldn’t have a greater Web Master!!
With a very full heart,
Jan Clark – Sertoma CEO
I may be the webmaster and, I may edit the articles for posting, but I do not write the stories. I know Laurie and Dave, but this story was so impactful and I am in awe of Laurie Millard. She shared such a personal story of loss and the positives that came out of it. I never met Brianna and that is my loss. This family has taken their worse nightmare and made it a light that shines hope for others who are dealing with addiction and offering them hope. Bravo!