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Valerie Messmore Adds New Chapter to 4-H Legacy

by Steve Grinczel

Published: Friday, September 11, 2020

The Messmore family's 4-H legacy continues.

Last week, Valerie Messmore received one of just three Indiana 4-H Foundation Premier Accomplishment Scholarships awarded each year. The $2,000 prize in the leadership category came on top of the $1,000 Accomplishment Scholarship the Warsaw High School graduate won in 2019.

Just over a year ago, Messmore completed the family's 55-year run of showing livestock at the Kosciusko County 4-H Fair.

"I was kind of the last one, ending an era for our family in 4-H," said Messmore, reached by phone on Tuesday. "My 10th year (in 4-H) was a hard one to come to a close for our family. Being awarded the Accomplishment Scholarship kind of paid off my dedication, and that was awesome.

"The Premier Scholarship is a whole other level of distinction because only a select few are chosen. Four-H meant so much to me, putting 10 years of my time into it. It's a lot of hard work that you go through, even with just showing animals."

However, Messmore repeatedly showed her willingness to "demonstrate the next level commitment." She is a past two-term president and a former vice president and treasurer of the Horse and Pony Club in addition to serving on various committees.

And, as junior at Warsaw High in 2018, Messmore and two other 4-H'ers created a program that consisted of presentations at five middle schools in the county and culminated with an open house.

"Choosing to be on committees and holding an open house for the entire county definitely paid off and is something I'm proud to be recognized for," she said.

Messmore and her partners promoted the open house with radio and newspapers advertisements and on social media, and the program was the centerpiece of her scholarship application.

"We did a presentation on what is 4-H, and what you can gain from it," she said. "There was a lot of planning and advertising that we developed by hosting the open house, which was such a neat experience and a lot of new skills learned.

"These scholarships are geared toward, what did you give back to 4-H and how you went above and beyond in 4-H. I was on the horse and pony committee and the feeder calf committee as a youth member. I did a presentation my freshman year to an elementary class about finding a passion and running with it. It wasn't tied to 4-H, but I talked about how my passion was showing horses and cattle and how 4-H helped me do that."

If this were any other year, Messmore would be recognized at the Indiana 4-H Leadership Summit luncheon in Carmel, Ind. on Nov. 21. However, due to the pandemic, the event will be held virtually, although she will be invited to the event in 2021.

In the meantime, she will continue on the fast track toward earning a double-major in accounting and finance with a minor in human resources at Purdue University. Although she is in her second year of college, she is academically a junior and will graduate in three years.

Messmore has been a 4-H achiever since becoming the youngest, as a seventh-grader, to win the Kosciusko County 4-H Fair supreme showmanship contest after her master showman win in horses.

"That was one of my favorite experiences in 4-H," said Messmore, who last year showed the supreme champion dairy cow to cap off a career that included wins with horses and dairy heifers, and showmanship wins in cows and horses at the state fair.

To say her success has something to do with her bloodlines would be an understatement.

Her parents, Brent and Renea, showed in 4-H, as did her grandparents, Dick and Sharondene Morris, and all three of her siblings.

And, Messmore doesn't plan to end her 4-H connection any time soon.

"There's the accomplishment and the premier accomplishment, so this is the end of that," she said. "But I'll always be a 4-H volunteer in the future. If I get an accounting job or a finance job in an ag business, that would be right up my alley."

Among this year's Accomplishment Scholarship winners are: Abigail Beck of St. Joseph County (Animal Science Small and Companion Animal); Antonio Pena of Cass County (Civic Engagement); and Cameron Early of Miami County (Plant and Environmental Science).

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