Hendrix; lifelong 4-H’er and volunteer

Gretchen Ritchey

Maurice Hendrix is no stranger to residents of Malvern and Hot Spring County, especially those in the 4-H program.
Hendrix, who grew up in the Big Creek community, is also a son of 4-H leaders.
His parents, Rupert and Dorothy Hendrix were active in 4-H before it was given the official name of 4-H. Both were active leaders of the Big Creek 4-H and Center 4-H. Hendrix said as a youth in 4-H he showed chickens on the county and state fair level.
Hendrix said he grew up around 4-H and animals and was a 4-H leader himself. He said he has enjoyed the time he has spent giving back to the children of Hot Spring County in the 4-H program. On Tuesday, December 11, 2018, Hendrix retired from his position on the Hot Spring County 4-H Foundation Board, which he had served on since the 1970s.
“Maurice has been an asset to the 4-H program,” said HSC 4-H Foundation Board member Jesse Clark. “You can’t find anyone who supports the program more than him.”
Hendrix and his wife, Georgia host the annual 4-H Fishing Derby for special ed students of Hot Spring County and Poyen schools. The 2019 derby will be the 40th year of the 4-H Fishing Derby.
Hendrix said the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission provide the fish for the derby and local businesses donate meat and fixings, bait and other items used for the derby. Volunteers cook hamburgers and hot dogs on a grill that was built near the Hendrix pond. Students then receive a sack lunch consisting of a hamburger, hot dog, cookies, chips and a drink.
Trophies and prizes are awarded for the biggest fish, most fish, best sportsmanship, and other categories. “Without the help of all the volunteers it would not be possible to host such an event with an average of 200 or more children you need all the volunteers you can get,” said Clark. “The Hendrix’s are very appreciative of all the volunteers.”
Hendrix is a veteran of the United States Army, serving during the Cold War. While in the army he worked as the meat inspector for the military, inspecting the products being supplied to the troops. He said his job was to inspect meat before it was purchased. An average order of ham was approximately 3,000 pounds, he said.
After his military service, Hendrix returned to Arkansas to lead a life of helping others and inspecting hatcheries for the State of Arkansas and worked at Pilgrim Pride, MountAir, and Keith Smith Farms inspecting chicken farms while working on is own farm.
Growing up on a family farm, Hendrix said it was his job to help kill and process chickens. He said the family would process hundreds of chickens and take to Malvern and Hot Springs to sell to restaurants and grocery stores. “It was hard work,” said Hendrix.
Hendrix served as a judge for the annual HSC 4-H Chicken Barbecue Contest. He said that he believed he was a good and fair judge because some of the members went on to other barbecue contests.
After he and Georgia married, they began judging the 4-H ORAMA.
The couple said they always judged music and speaking contests.
Hendrix said when he returned to Arkansas after the Army he came back to Hot Spring County to his farm. He left his hatchery inspection job and took over the family farm and took care of his aging parents.
Hendrix has previously donated the use of his hay fields for grassland identification and evaluation programs.
Hendrix attended Southern Arkansas University for two years when it was a two-year school, he also attended the University of Arkansas where he graduated with a degree in Poultry Husbandry.. The Hendrix family gives a scholarship each year to a deserving attending SAU.
Hendrix has spent time with various organizations in the area including spending 30 years at Petty Center, 50 years with Farm Bureau, serving on the Fair Board and Extension Board.
An award he is very proud of is the Alumni of the Year Award from 4-H for his 50 years with the program.
Hendrix’s dedication of 30 years of volunteering with the Petty Center included working alongside Raymond Petty volunteering time and money before it was the Petty Center. Hendrix and Raymond Petty visited Pam Bland, head of the centers in Arkansas pursued her to take the Malvern Center under the blanket of the state centers. The two were convincing and the Petty Center in Malvern was formed.


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