Valley Remembers Chairman Richard Milanovich
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
The community is mourning the loss of the Agua Caliente Tribal Chairman and community leader, Richard M. Milanovich.
He died Sunday, at the age of 69, after a long battle with cancer.
Richard M. Milanovich is remembered as a great leader for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and as a great contributor for the entire Coachella Valley.
And the valley is honoring his great legacy.
The flags fly at half mast at Palm Springs city hall, roses and candles adorn his star in downtown, and people remember the legacy that Chairman Richard M. Milanovich leaves behind.
"He was a man of integrity, he was a man of strength, he was somebody that he would give his word, he would stick to it, and he always cared, not only about his own tribe, but also all the citizens of Palm Springs," said Hilton Palm Springs general manager, Aftab Dada, who was friends with Milanovich for 22 years.
Valley leaders say Milanovich had an immmeasurable impact on the community.
"If you look at our downtown, it is with the Casino, it is changed because of the work of Chairman Milanovich and the tribe. And also they were huge supporters of our police and fire departments, and our local charitable organization, and he was just an incredible part of our community, and he will be sorely missed," said Palm Springs city manager, David Ready.
The Veteran's Day parade will be in honor of the chairman, who was a veteran himself.
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians issued a statement saying, "We have lost our great leader... One of the most well respected tribal chairs in the entire Nation."
Under his leadership, he helped secure gaming rights for the tribes, the Spa Resort Casino was purchased, and the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa was built.
"It's not only a huge loss for the Coachella Valley, but it's a huge loss for an entire nation, because as you know, Richard Milanovich, what he did for all the tribes all over North America, that cannot be measured, and can never be replaced, that man can not be," said Dada.
Milanovich was a leader across the valley.
He was involved in the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, United Way of the Desert, the Palm Springs International Film Festival and many more local organizations.
Milanovich is remembered as a leader, and a friend.
"When I came to Palm Springs 11 years ago now, I remember meeting the Chairman, and he immediately engages you, listens to you, his calm wisdom was one thing that really spoke to me, and I truly will miss him as a memory of our community and as a friend," said Ready.
"I'm going to miss the Chairman, but what he has taught, not only to the citizens of Palm Springs, but to his other tribal members, his memory will live forever and ever," said Dada.
Milanovich is survived by his wife and six children.
The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum made a tribute to the chairman last October.