MANSURA, La. – A dozen new members of the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame from throughout the state will be recognized at a reception May 21.
The event at the Louisiana 4-H Museum is a way of honoring these individuals for their efforts to improve the lives of youth, said Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and director of extension.
“These inductees are being honored for their hard work and dedication to 4-H,” Coreil said. “Without people like them, 4-H probably could not continue to exist.”
An initial 100 individuals were inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame in 2008.
“Each following year, a dozen honorees have been added,” said Rose Anne St. Romain, 4-H museum coordinator. “Their photos and biographical information will be part of the permanent Hall of Fame exhibit at the museum.”
Information on previous inductees is online at ww.LSUAgCenter.com/4hmuseum.
This year’s honorees are:
– Harry Chalkley (deceased), of Lake Charles, served as a 4-H volunteer, philanthropist and business leader in Calcasieu Parish for more than 25 years during 1960-1985. As chairman of the Southwest District Livestock and Rodeo Committee, he was instrumental in spearheading a campaign to pass a tax to build the W.T. Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. His family business, Sweetlake Land and Oil Co., continues to be a major supporter of 4-H and extension programs.
– Connie Comeaux, of Iberia Parish, began her 4-H career in St. Martin Parish as an active club member for eight years, then served Iberia Parish for more than 25 years in numerous volunteer roles, including 4-H organizational and garden club leader, demonstration coach, camp volunteer, community service coordinator, advisory committee member, Master Gardener volunteer, 4-H advocate and donor.
– James Dardeau, of Vermilion Parish, began his 29-year extension career in 1964. He served the LSU AgCenter as 4-H agent in Cameron, Natchitoches and Vermilion parishes, was county agent and parish chairman in Vermilion Parish, and was district agent in the Southwest District.
– Deborah Dees, of DeSoto Parish, first became involved in the DeSoto 4-H program in 1983 when her two children became members, and she is still active today. After her children’s graduation, she remained active as a member of the volunteer advisory and 4-H Foundation committees, as a 4-H Exchange Trip host and as an advocate for securing local governing support for the LSU AgCenter.
– Angie Fusilier, of Evangeline Parish, has been a 4-H leader since 2001. Her expertise as a leader has been utilized on advisory committees and to train parish 4-H community service officers. She was named outstanding leader in Evangeline Parish in 2007 and was awarded a trip to Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Georgia.
– Kellett Hathorn (deceased), spend his 33-year extension career with 4-H. He was a 4-H agent in St. Tammany Parish for five years before being promoted to the state office. He assumed leadership for the adult and Junior Leader programs, National 4-H Congress and Citizenship-Washington Focus trips. He also expanded the summer camp program by expanding the recreational and educational programs.
– Merlin Jackson, of St. Charles Parish, served as a 4-H leader at St. Rose Elementary for 32 years. He also served on the parish 4-H Advisory Committee and was the first president of the St. Charles 4-H Foundation. His club won first place at Achievement Day for 32 consecutive years.
– Catherine O. Pedescleaux (deceased), of St. John the Baptist Parish, dedicated 29 years of service as a 4-H leader and teacher at West St. John Elementary School. During her tenure as a volunteer, she touched the lives of more than 2,500 4-H youths, often working after hours and during summer vacation.
– Leroy V. Robbins (deceased), of East Baton Rouge Parish, served as a club and project leader for more than 50 years. He began his volunteerism as a parent and served the program in many leadership capacities. He received the state Attorney General’s Livestock Leader Award and the Leader’s Award to National 4-H Congress.
– William M. Schehr, of St. Bernard Parish, has played a major role in the St. Bernard 4-H program since 2003. After Hurricane Katrina, he helped re-establish the parish extension office by serving on recovery committees. He has volunteered to supervise special needs children at camp. For his extraordinary contributions to 4-H youth development, he was recognized as an Honorary Citizen of St. Bernard.
– Mary Triche, of St. Charles Parish, has been a dedicated volunteer in St. Charles Parish for 32 years as leader of the 4-H Junior Leader Club. A charter member of the Louisiana 4-H Volunteer Association, she has attended state and regional conferences and received the “Hard Worker” award at the 2008 Southern Regional Leader Forum in Georgia.
– Stephen Young, of Bienville Parish, has worked with 4-H for 50 years, serving as organizational and project leader. He trained numerous youth in the poultry and the dairy projects. In 1988, he was named recipient of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Award for leadership and service to the livestock programs.