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D.W. Dills chosen for Hall of Fame

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By The Staff

4-H has always held a special place in the heart of D.W. Dills.

He was member of the organization from about 12 to 17 years old, caring for a dairy cow named Blondie in the livestock club.

Now, the 81-year-old Grant County resident still helps support the local 4-H every year.

In honor of the organization’s 100th anniversary in Kentucky, the 27-member local 4-H council unanimously chose Dills for the Centennial Hall of Fame for his significant contributions over the years.

“I was really surprised,” Dills said. “I wasn’t looking for any acclaim like that.”

“As a kid, I enjoyed being around other kids with 4-H projects and so forth,” he said. “Of course, I enjoy seeing the kids now and how they progress at the 4-H show and sale. That’s what you like to see.”

The recognition will be coming during the Centennial Bash on Saturday, Feb. 21 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lexington.

During the luncheon, a tree sculpture made of Kentucky walnut will be unveiled by Louisville artist and 4-H volunteer Orville Moss.

The leaves of the 3 by 4 feet sculpture will be heart shaped and each Hall of Fame recipient’s name will be engraved on them.

The tree will be permanently displayed at the Kentucky Educational Center in Jabez.

Pictures of the recipients who attend also will be placed in the state time capsule.

“Mr. Dills has been instrumental in Extension for years and years,” said Joyce Doyle, Grant County extension agent for 4-H Youth Development. “He’s been instrumental in us always moving to a nicer place. He was really for us getting this land (for a new facility) and building for the future.”

Dills, who was chosen as 2008 Grant Countian of the Year at the annual chamber of commerce banquet, graduated from Williamstown High School.

During his career, he worked for the Dairy Herd Improvement Testing Association through the University of Kentucky, where he spent his days traveling to farms to figure out how much milk each cow produced.

He is president of the Grant County Deposit Bank and had a four-year stint as mayor of Dry Ridge, where he also served as fire chief for 20 years.

Doyle said Dills recently donated money for the construction of an educational building on the new Grant County Extension Office property.

He also annually supports the 4-H Sale of Champions at the Grant County Fair, even soliciting other businesses to support the event.

“He calls other businesses and if they can’t go, he bids for them,” Doyle said. “When he talks about 4-H and what it does for kids, he beams.”

The relationship 4-H members build with the leader is beneficial, said Dills, who plans to attend the celebration event.

“I encourage all our local people to support 4-H every way they can and help on the new fairgrounds,” he said. “It’s going to be something when they get it through.”