By Faith Peppers
Georgia Extension Service
The National Partner in 4-H Award is 4-H's highest honor. It's presented to individuals, businesses and others who have worked closely with the Cooperative Extension System in support of the 4-H program nationally.
The award is limited to those who have provided exemplary, significant and distinctive contributions to the 4-H program over many years. Only a small number of such awards are presented each year.
The only other individual recipients this year are U.S. President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and philanthropist Gene Swackhamer.
"It has been my privilege to work with 4-H members, volunteers and professional leaders," Brower said in accepting the award. "I have been fortunate to be employed by a company that recognizes its obligation to invest in the 4-H program to help develop future leaders for our industry, our state and our nation."
Brower began his involvement with 4-H when he was the public relations manager with Olin Corporation's agricultural division in 1964. He was actively involved as a donor representative in National 4-H Council and National 4-H Congress.
In 1998, when National 4-H Congress moved to Atlanta, Brower took an active role, not only in providing funds from Gold Kist, but in actively recruiting others in the industry to support the event. He's personally responsible for securing more than $250,000 in support of National 4-H Congress in recent years.
"Paul's support of the 4-H program has been unwavering throughout the years," Colien Hefferan, administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative Research, Education and Extension Service, told the crowd of more than 1,300 National 4-H Congress delegates and volunteers.
"His support is not limited to writing a check," she said. "He has spent numerous hours in advising those planning Congress. He is willing to ask the hard questions that make us think. He not only asks the question, but also helps to find the answers."
Brower's involvement in 4-H extendeds beyond National 4-H Congress. He has been actively involved in the advisory committees of the Georgia 4-H Program and the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, which directs the Georgia 4-H program.
He worked with Georgia 4-H to design a new program recognizing outstanding adult volunteers in 4-H programs in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina. He has also served as chairman of the Georgia 4-H Foundation board of directors.
"Paul's vision for 4-H is a futuristic one," Hefferan said. "His belief in the program, the youth participants and adults, both professional and volunteer, is overwhelming. Paul personifies the 4-H motto: To make the best better."
A complete list of partners is available at http://www.national4-hheadquarters.gov/4h_award.htm
(Faith Peppers is the director of public affairs with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)