COLUMBIA, Mo. – Dennis McMillen of Center, Mo., was named a 2013 Missouri 4-H Foundation Naomi Crouch Leadership Awardee on March 15 in Columbia. McMillen was recognized for his commitment to the University of Missouri Extension 4-H youth development program.

“It is our great pleasure to honor Dennis McMillen and Center Locker with the Naomi Crouch award for dedication to Missouri 4-H,” said Cheryl Reams, executive director of the Missouri 4-H Foundation. “Volunteers like Dennis have made Missouri 4-H the quality experience for youth that it is today, and we are indebted to Dennis for his service.”

More than 30 years ago, when he bought Center Locker, Dennis McMillen helped start the Ralls County 4-H ham-curing project. He was crucial to getting the project off the ground and continues to play a major role in the project’s success.  McMillen opens the doors of Center Locker to hold the ham project meetings, and secures the project hams.  The Ralls County ham project has grown from two hams exhibited in 1987 to 31 exhibited in 2012. 

If there is a way that McMillen can assist 4-H, he will do it. Among his many contributions, McMillen invites 4-H and FFA meats judging teams to practice at Center Locker, where they learn about cuts of meat and how to evaluate them. McMillen wears many others hats, too. He serves as mayor of Center, Mo., cooks for the annual Center Park Day, serves as the 4-H Ham Show chairman, works with the 4-H cured ham project group, and volunteers for local sports leagues.

The Naomi Crouch Leadership Award is given annually to volunteers and organizations that devote their time and talents to MU Extension’s 4-H youth development programs. The award is named for Naomi Crouch, a Plattsburg native who was an active 4-H volunteer and Missouri 4-H Foundation trustee for more than 20 years.

Celebrating 63 years of service to 4-H youth, the Missouri 4-H Foundation secures funds for the Missouri 4-H youth development program, provides higher education scholarships and recognizes 4-H volunteers.

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