Friday, November 9, 2018

Interview with Luckner Millien

Luckner Millien at the FWAF Agroecology Meeting in April.
Jean Millien, better known as Luckner, has been working with the Vocational Rehabilitation program since 2006, and has been an active member of the Farmworker Ministry since 1980. He is of Haitian Descent, has one daughter and extended family in another state. In June of this year, Genesis Martinez then part of the Farmworker Association sat down with Luckner for a conversation about the work that he does. The text below is part of the conversation that took place between them on June 18, 2018.

GM: What do you do in your role? Can you recall a memorable case you had?
Luckner: VR [Vocational Rehabilitation] is a kind of job where you have to be dedicated. You come across many different people; some are nice some are not. You might encounter a very complicated case.

In 1991, I had a case that was a huge headache. It was a woman from Haiti who was suffering from fibroids; she came here with no insurance or anything. She was in severe pain. She was a nursery worker. I did the application for her to received help and the counselor in the interview sent her to a doctor. The doctor had decided to do surgery on her to remove the fibroids. He completed the surgery (cut off the fibroids) but something went wrong.  As her recruiter, I had to be there to face all of the difficulties. The doctor could not explain why she was having these issues.The counselor sent her to another doctor, the doctor said she still had some fibroid left and clearly something had gone wrong in the first surgery. This doctor then corrected the mess and she was no longer in pain. I carried a lot of the weight and pressure of this case; I thought about it day and night and couldn’t sleep.

Another case was a Haitian man in 2012-2013. He used to be a farmworker in his country and then switched to restaurant work when he arrived in the U.S. A while after he found out he had prostate cancer. He came to me and we were able to get him radiation for his cancer and he healed from the cancer.

GM: Can you tell me about a case that was very difficult for you?
Luckner: Yes, a Polk County client came to me one day. This woman had cataracts and they had to operate her to remove them in both her eyes. When they did the first eye everything went well, when they did the second one she caught an infection. She started getting ulcers right inside her eye. We could not get an answer as to what happened to her eye and what was going wrong. They did not even tell us it was an infection right away we had to go to several people. Eventually the doctor prescribed her medication and we helped her get it, she felt so much better. She went back to Haiti and they continued with the same medicine. The only thing is she could not continue work in citrus because of the bending. This case was a great success but it was difficult because she was in so much pain and we could not find answers right away.

GM: What makes the work you do important?
 Luckner: The VR program is a very very important program here in our community, especially farmworker populations. Who most likely do not speak English and do not understand the system. They do not know their way around, VR is vital. They don’t have anything, no money to pay. Even transportation, translation, sometimes I go out of my way to assist folks with their other needs outside of VR. You as the outreach person you carry the weight for them; you are helping them find a solution to their problems. Not everyone understands the weight of our program.

Luckner Millien

Florida Farmworkers and Immigration

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