4-H Where Are They Now
Q&A with Keri Collins Lewis • Photo by Kevin Hudson
Originally from Greenwood, Drew Hearn has been a state trooper with the Mississippi Highway Patrol for 5 years. In 2019, he received the “Buckle for Life” award in recognition of his advocacy for wearing seat belts and having children in proper safety equipment, including car seats and boosters. He shares how his time in the Leflore County 4-H program shaped his leadership skills and taught him responsibility.
Q: Why did you first join 4-H?
It was my mother’s idea for me to join 4-H. At the time, 4-H was developing at my school, and many parents began to realize that the program would mold and produce leaders.
Q: Describe your 4-H experience.
I began my 4-H career while attending Leflore County Junior High School in Itta Bena, and the 4-H program there was just getting started. At first, I was reluctant because I did not have any specific projects, such as showing animals or shooting sports. After receiving more responsibility, I realized there was so much more to 4-H than what I previously thought. We began fundraisers, public speaking, group and individual projects, out-of-state traveling to national conventions, and interacting with other members throughout the state.
I served as the Northwest Vice President and as a legislative page under previous Lieutenant Governor Amy Tuck. I received the Congressional Medal Award, won first place in the Prestigious Steak Class, and won the 4-H “I Dare You” award for leadership, among others.
Q: How can 4-H make a young person’s life better?
Being in 4-H can actually extract the talent that a young person has and help them apply it in outstanding ways. The demands of 4-H participation build self-confidence.
Q: Who was the most influential person in 4-H for you?
Agent Christina Meriwether is my favorite person from 4-H. She was my agent, and I was a nonchalant 4-H’er in the beginning. Ms. Meriwether never gave up on me, and she always made sure I was involved in something! She always remained patient, and she introduced 4-H in a location where it was not that well known. Fast-forward to the present, and 4-H is widely known throughout the Mississippi Delta rural areas, and future leaders are being molded for greatness.
Q: How did 4-H contribute to your leadership skills?
4-H placed a different type of responsibility in my life because I had deadlines to meet, speeches to prepare, group and individual projects to produce, all while I was in junior high school. I was able to take those traits and skills and apply them to the courtesy, service, and safety motto that I adhere to within the ranks of the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
Q: How are you still making the best better?
I am making the best better by learning new things daily and having faith to accomplish much more throughout the journey.
Interview answers have been edited for space and clarity.