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02/10/2012

Dearborn woman wins national award for volunteerism

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Photos and interviews for media available upon request through Josh Fleming.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Missouri is known as the Show Me State. Sherry Hill, of Dearborn, takes that seeing-is-believing attitude to the next level and provides hands-on outdoor learning experiences for Missouri women every year through the NWTF’s Women in the Outdoors outreach program.

For her efforts, the NWTF chose Hill as its 2011 Annie Oakley Award recipient, the highest honor given to a Women in the Outdoors volunteer.

Hill received her award during the NWTF’s 36th annual National Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tenn. MidwayUSA was the official sponsor of the convention, which was themed, “Hunters: Champions of Conservation.”

“I was hooked on the program from my first Women in the Outdoors event in 2002,” Hill said. “Finding ladies in my community who enjoy the outdoors as much as I do created a new dimension to my life. It has definitely enriched mine.”

Annie Oakley might be best known for her shooting skills, but a side product of her talents is she inspired decades of women to try something new. The same can be said for Hill who went from participant to go-to Dutch oven cooking instructor for area events. She has co-authored two cookbooks and shares her rustic culinary knowledge with dozens of women each year.

“Sherry is very devoted to the NWTF and always enthusiastically shares her knowledge of outdoor skills with others,” said NWTF volunteer Tammy Kram. “She has a true passion to educate.”

Hill not only serves as an instructor at several Women in the Outdoors events, she has taken the reigns as event coordinator for her local chapter’s event held annually at Camp Geiger in St. Joseph. She’s served in that position for the last seven years.

Under her leadership, the event grew from 51 participants in 2004 to 135 in 2008. Her events have recruited more than 650 NWTF members.

R. L. Bennett, George Clark Missouri State Chapter vice president, says Hill is a major reason for the high number of NWTF members in Missouri. The state ranks third in membership for the organization.

According to Ellen Benitz, NWTF regional director for Missouri, Hill also has spearheaded Women in the Outdoors efforts throughout the northwest part of the state, just part of her duties as the state’s volunteer coordinator for program.

“Sherry has volunteered to coordinate Women in the Outdoors events that would not have happened had she not stepped up,” said Benitz. “She also attends events to offer her support and mentor other coordinators. She’s willing to do anything in her power to make the events in her area succeed.”

Hill’s involvement with the NWTF goes beyond its women’s program. She serves on the committee for her chapter’s annual fundraising banquet and is a member of the Missouri State Chapter.

“After coming to a few of the chapter meetings, I noticed that there was one member who was extremely dedicated to the Women in the Outdoors program,” said Melissa Elam, NWTF volunteer. “Sherry never hesitates to jump in with both feet on any project or idea. She strives to provide a wonderful event for ladies, so their Women in the Outdoors experience is positive, educational and exciting. If I ever have any problems or questions I know she is always there to lend a helping hand. She truly believes in this program.”

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