Four honorees were inducted into the Ohio 4-H Hall of Fame during the 2013 Ohio Volunteer Conference and Bob Evans Farms Recognition Luncheon in March.
The purpose of the Ohio 4-H Hall of Fame is to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions of service to the 4-H program and who have also made an important positive impact upon clubs, communities, and the Ohio 4-H program.
- Robert Joseph, Franklin County, began his leadership activities as a 4-H member in Licking County and continued as president of the Collegiate 4-H Club in college. After serving in the U.S. Army, Bob helped promote Operation: Military Kids to a new audience of 4-H members. While working with Abbott Food Company, Bob helped make connections between 4-H and the business world. Abbott continues to sponsor grants as well as Ohio 4-H and Ohio State Fair 4-H food and nutrition awards. During the past 10 years, Bob has also served on the Ohio 4-H Foundation board. Under his leadership, the Ohio 4-H Foundation's request to place an Ohio historical marker at the site of the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center has been approved.
- Leland Knauf, Mahoning County, has been a 4-H volunteer for 43 years. At the county level, Leland donates trophies and other awards to encourage participation, serves as a role model for 4-H royal court candidates, recruits youth to attend Cloverbud Day Camp, and serves on the Mahoning County Extension Advisory Committee. An avid camp enthusiast, Leland has promoted 4-H Camp Whitewood in northwestern Ohio. He has also worked to refine the Ohio State Fair Outstanding of the Day awards structure. Leland enthusiastically inspires 4-H youth to try projects and challenges they might never have tried on their own.
- Vernon Sloan, Williams County, has been active with 4-H since he was a child enrolled in livestock projects. As a parent and 4-H advisor, he has guided many youth through 4-H camps, project judging, and county and state fairs. Currently, Vernon serves on the Williams County 4-H Endowment Committee. Outside of his county efforts, Vernon has hosted two Labo exchange students from Japan and has promoted the IFYE(International Four-H Youth Exchange) program to others. He also organized an effort to ship high-lysine corn to areas of the world in need. Through this idea, he became a founding father of what became the Foods Resource Bank.
- William Thurston, Delaware County, has served as a 4-H advisor in Delaware County for 60 years. His influence has extended throughout the state with participation in 4-H dairy activities and the dairy industry. Bill has guided members in the dairy quiz bowl, dairy judging contests, spring dairy expo, the Ohio State Fair, the Ohio Skillathons, and numerous other shows. Bill has been an exemplary role model and mentor to hundreds of 4-H members, emphasizing parliamentary procedure and public speaking skills at 4-H club meetings. In addition, Bill's commitment to being a good citizen encourages 4-H members to complete numerous community service projects each year.
At least 1,650 people attended the Ohio Volunteer Conference and Ohio Teen Conference, which capped off Ohio 4-H week March 3-9. Several other awards were also presented at the luncheon, including Ohio 4-H Volunteer, Meritorious Service, Community Service, Innovator, and Volunteer of the Year awards. A number of people were also recognized for their years of volunteer service to Ohio 4-H.
The 2014 Ohio Volunteer Conference dates are posted online here, and photos of the 2013 award winners will be available soon at that link.
-- Cheryl Buck, OSU Extension