Celebrating Hispanic Heritage: Hillsborough County's first female tax collector

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, FOX 13 News is highlighting those who have influenced the Bay Area, including the first woman to serve as Hillsborough County Tax Collector. Her passion to serve her community is what's right with Tampa Bay.

Nancy Milan showed us pictures of the former Hillsborough County Tax Collectors, on display at the Frederick B. Karl County Center in Tampa. 

"So, this is the history since 1920," she explained of the photos. "This is a really proud moment for me." 

Nancy is the first woman and Latino to be elected Hillsborough County Tax Collector. 

"To me, it is an honor that was bestowed upon me when the people of Hillsborough County voted me in. And I use this as a platform to show the positive light that we can truly make a difference," she said.

Milan was born and raised in Ybor City in the 1960s. She comes from a big family. Milan has two sisters, but her mother had 11 siblings.

"My dad's side, we all grew up together in one house. Back in the day, that was common, that we have two families living in one home," she recalled. "It was great to have very fond memories and you learned how to be very humble and appreciate what we have today and not take things for granted." 

She graduated from Hillsborough High School and got married. 

"I got married right out of high school and moved to Europe and then came back and actually started working here in the tax collectors office," Milan said.

She started as an accounting clerk and now, 32 years later, she's the tax collector. 

"It's something that I'm passionate about and loved doing every day. So it was really easy for me to just stay here. As you can tell, I love it. I could have retired, but I chose to run when I had an opportunity. And it's the best decision I made," she explained.

As a single mom in 1998, she went back to college and graduated from St Leo University. 

"And I worked really hard being a single mom, working and just surviving was a job in itself, a full-time job, trying to do it all. And so I'm really proud to, again, be able to be in this role and show and be a model of what good government means and how, when we set our minds to do something, that the sky's the limit, that you can do it and really make a difference in this community."  

Milan believes that public service is one of the best ways to give back to your community.

"It's just in me, having a serving heart, something that I love doing, that I've always loved helping people. And I found a place where I really love being here. I love what I do."