“Mentors have lifetime influence.”
Fortunately, we’ve had a number, and memories overflow of one who has been most inspirational.
Dr. Dell Allen was honored recently as “Stockman of the Year” at Kansas State University.
It was especially notable during the recognition at Manhattan that Dell made the same impression on all of his students, and many people around the world.
Our first heroes have always been cowboys. Unbeknownst to us when we went to an introductory K-State Meats Judging Team meeting, Dell’s dad always called him: “Cowboy.” Upon realizing that months later, “Dell was always our hero.”
While most instructors are referred to as Doctor, Professor or Mister, Dell was generally “Dell” to his team members, even if sometimes acknowledged as Dr. Allen in respect of true status. Despite the butch haircut, Dell was our highly-admired coach, and he was one of us, too.
Stories were shared from Dell’s farm childhood, through KSU graduation, then completing a meats science doctorate, becoming “the best” collegiate judging team coach, and renowned-influential meats researcher.
Dell improved livestock and meat quality and safety around the world, and profitability for this nation’s related industries.
Yet, Dell’s a family man as humorously related by his wife, Joyce (often synonymous with Dell), and daughter, Melanie, along with granddaughters: Katrina and Danielle. Twin grandsons Asher and Nathan are pride-and-joy, as well.
Foremost, we remember Dell’s insistence: “Always give 110 percent.” Secondly, “beef steak must be eaten rare, no added sauce; gooseberry pie for desert.”
Fall meats team workouts started a week before classes. We got married on Saturday, spent an “overnight honeymoon” at Oklahoma City, and were in Dell’s station wagon early Monday morning.
Nonetheless, we were five minutes late. “Always be on time” was our next lesson. Thereafter, though, Dell picked us up at the ranch, if workouts were south, allowing another hour’s sleep.
Reflections endlessly continue, but we were humbly proud when Dell, by then most distinguished, hairstyle and all, served as official and speaker for our judging field day one year.
Mentor, teacher, coach, yet most importantly, as said often during the program: “Dell Allen is our friend.”
Reminds us of Psalm112:9: “They share freely and give generously. Their good deeds and influence will be remembered forever.” Likewise, Proverbs 3:1: “Good friends help you live a long life full and well.”