Merritt named to 4-H Hall of Fame

First Posted: 12/3/2013

“This year’s inductee to the Robeson County 4-H Hall of Fame and recipient of the Dr. Eddie and Mrs. Brenda Locklear Endowment is…”

It is one of those moments where you can hear a pin drop. Each year for the last three years, as Dr. Eddie Locklear has said those words, he has the eyes, attention and hope of every Robeson County 4-H volunteer as they wait with baited breath to see if they might be the winner of this prestigious award.

In 2011, our first year giving the award, Katherine Bethea was recognized as our first inductee for her more than 20 years of dedicated service to 4-H and one-on-one work with the youth through our program. In 2012, Bobby Rogers was recognized as one of the longest-serving volunteers who has served in roles from club leader to aficionado on just about everything, from camp to electricity.

Recognizing our volunteer leaders for their efforts in a lasting way is extremely important for our 4-H program. Dr. Eddie Locklear, who served as a 4-H agent in Robeson County, thinks so as well. He and his wife Brenda were instrumental in working and building the volunteer program and funding structures that allow us to say thank you to these folks who give their time and talents for our youth.

Being a 4-H volunteer requires training and commitment to the program, something both Dr. Locklear and his wife wanted to help us recognize. That is why, in 2009, they created the Dr. Eddie and Mrs. Brenda Locklear Endowment for 4-H Volunteer Recognition. This endowment supports the Robeson County 4-H Volunteer Hall of Fame and offers each inductee the opportunity to receive a monetary gift. The Hall of Fame is located in the auditorium of the O. P. Owens Agriculture Center.

Volunteers are nominated for this award by other 4-H volunteers, members, and parents. The staff may not nominate or help choose a winner. A three-person committee reviews blind applications and bases their decision on the qualifications of each applicant. Their decision is top secret until the 4-H Volunteer Appreciation Banquet, the night that all 4-H volunteers are recognized.

So this year, as Dr. and Mrs. Locklear got ready to announce the winner, you could see the eyes darting around the room. Who was the lucky recipient? Many volunteers wondered if it might be them.

Finally, they announced Marilyn Merritt as this year’s recipient. Marilyn has been a Robeson County 4-H volunteer on the local, state, and national levels for 20 years. She is the organizational club leader for Young Leaders 4-H Club, which is one of the oldest clubs in the county. Marilyn has given tirelessly of her time, energy and talents to our youth, and we are looking forward to adding her photo to our Robeson County 4-H Volunteer Hall of Fame.

For more information, please contact Shea Ann DeJarnette, Extension 4-H Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at [email protected], or visit our website at

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.

Shea Ann Dejarnette is an Extension 4-H Agent at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s Robeson County Center.