By Christopher Oak Reinier
Rob Milton likes to hike. Yesterday, far above Guerneville, he watched a doe give birth to a fawn. Just happened upon it. Kind of the story of his life. Rob just sort of happened upon being the grant writer for West County Community Services.
He grew up near Cincinnati in farming country. Got an associate degree in biology from Miami of Ohio in 1968. Became a lab technician and lived on a sailboat in San Rafael for six years. He has rafted the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon and the upper Amazon in Peru. Hang glided off Glacier Point in Yosemite, 2200 feet up, and climbed Denali in Alaska.
In 1976 the hospital closed the labs where Rob worked. He went to the University of Cincinnati and earned a BA in Business Communications. Got married, bought a house, and wrote a manual on graphic design for a new computer called the “Mac”. At the time, Rob started his own desktop-publishing business “before anyone was doing that.” He published newsletters, position papers, editorials, etc., primarily for environmental and conservation groups. In 1989 he obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Cincinnati because he wanted to be more involved with environmental work.
In 1992, Rob got a job as the Program Coordinator of the Michigan Conservation Corp, a job training program with a $27 million dollar budget. Rob had put the interest which still keeps him hiking into a job he could believe in.
While doing that work he remained active in the environmental movement. In 1998 he took a job with the Gore campaign as the Events Coordinator for Michigan, a job in which he sometimes oversaw four events on the same day in two different cities.
The “electoral” result of that job convinced him that our government wasn’t working the way it should. He dropped out, took his savings and built a house in Northern Michigan. He worked in maintenance of summer homes, resorts, and a national park until 2007. The recession caused him to sell his house, buy an RV and head for the west coast.
Eventually settled in Sonoma County. Rob learned that WCCS needed someone to research and write the applications for the grants that keep the Agency at work. He got the job. And, drawing on his wide range of experience hiking through life, he is successfully doing that work today.
The goal at WCCS is to help the disadvantaged in our community learn the skills needed to improve their lives. Rob’s work as a grant developer makes it possible for the staff to do the work.