The DeKalb County Fair Association paid tribute to the late T.C. McMillen Monday afternoon in a brief ceremony commemorating his many years of dedication to the fair.
Members of the McMillen family, the Fair Board, and others gathered at the fairgrounds for the unveiling of a pictorial memorial and the official renaming of the Hilltop Arena in honor of Mr. McMillen, who served the fair in many capacities, including helping to prepare the grounds for various events.
Mr. McMillen passed away last October.
On behalf of the Fair Association, Ron Paschal offered the following tribute. "They just don't make them like T.C. anymore. There's never been a better man. There's never been a more loved man than T.C. McMillen. Today marks a special occasion as we begin the 152nd DeKalb County Fair. We're gathered to celebrate, reminisce, and also to be somewhat sad as we pay tribute to one of our special people, that operated in the background to make this arena up here on the hill work. T.C. wouldn't want this fuss about him but he was a very special person. How many times would jobs small or large be mentioned and before you could turn around, T.C. would have the job completed. T.C. could take a perfectly good piece of ground. Tear it up for an event, and fix it back the next day better than it ever was to begin with. He could work all day and night and yet seem to never get dirty or lose his patience with anybody, especially any of us, who might ask for a last minute favor. Many people here today know of the quiet, unassuming generosity of T.C. McMillen. Psalms says ‘Happy are those who respect the Lord and obey Him. You will enjoy what you work for and you'll be blessed with good things.'. That was definitely T.C.. He always worked hard and always enjoyed life. The Fair Board would like to thank each person who stepped up this year to try to fill his void. Even though it's impossible, we want to thank you for doing that. T.C. is one who can never truly be replaced but this tribute will allow us to remember and have a place to honor him, this fine man, from now on. T.C., we love you and we miss you."
McMillen's grandson, Justin Rich, thanked the Fair Association for this memorial. "On behalf of my family, I'd like to thank everyone so much for coming out and showing your support and for all the donations and everything that's made this possible. Pa wasn't the type to take a lot of glory in anything but he would have definitely appreciated this. He was a man that led by example and we miss him. We ask that you take this memorial and when you look at it, celebrate his life and not mourn his death because he was so special to each and everyone of us. He loved this fair. He loved his family and he loved his friends. He enjoyed seeing each and everyone of them. Thanks again from the bottom of my heart and from my family for coming out and supporting us tonight."
(Click on pictures to see larger images)