Butler County's 2012 Veteran of the Year is Dean McMillen.
John Cyprian, director of Veteran Services for Butler County, said that leaders of all county veterans groups vote on this annual honor.
McMillen will serve Monday as marshal of the Veterans Day Parade in Butler and also will be honored at a dinner dance at noon Nov. 17 at the Lyndora American Legion Post 778.
He began his military career early by volunteering as a messenger for air raid drills during World War II in Butler.
He rode his bicycle from one station to another delivering messages during drills to make sure people knew what to do in case of enemy attack with the phone lines down.
When he was old enough, McMillen enlisted in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He earned the rank of petty officer 1st class, sang in the Navy Blue Jacket Choir and played on the Navy's basketball team before receiving an honorable discharge in 1955.
When McMillen returned to Butler County, he started his life-long list of volunteer projects and social activities for veterans and communities.
For the past 15 years, he was the commander of the American Legion Post 219 in Evans City.
He is active at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Evans City, serving on the church council and was the president of his Sunday school class for more than 20 years. He was chairman of the committee to repair and replace the church steeple and he volunteers many hours removing snow, cleaning up litter, landscaping and doing general maintenance at the church.
McMillen also is active in the sports community. Along with his involvement in youth activities for his own children, he has coached and umpired from Little League through Pony League baseball and helped to prepare fields for games.
He served as president and treasurer of the Evans City Athletic Association and was chairman of the birthday calendar fundraising committee. When the association bought property for a new field, McMillen surveyed the land and laid out the new field.
McMillen is a lifetime member of the Evans City Volunteer Fire Company, where he has served as a driver.
He worked during the carnival raising money for the fire company and helped audit the financial records, and has spent many hours revamping an old fire truck the company bought. He also assisted with placing sirens in Evans City as warning signals.
McMillen is a 20-year volunteer at the Evans City Library, where he is chairman of maintenance, He has spent more than 8,000 hours volunteering to renovate the library.
Even with all of those commitments, McMillen also is a volunteer with the Passavant Retirement Community, the Evans City Water and Sewer Authority, the Evans City Historical Society, the Masonic Lodge, Meals on Wheels, the Salvation Army and the Armco Steel Junior Achievement Project.