The Purdue Elkhart County Extension Board Annual meeting was held on Nov. 18, at the 4-H Fairgrounds in Goshen. The annual meeting honors the “Friends of Extension,” recognizes retiring board members, elects new board members by the Extension Council, and highlights program impact and accomplishments from the Purdue Extension Educators.
The annual meeting began with celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act which was signed in 1914. The act established the Cooperative Extension service which is a state-by-state national network of educators who extend university based research and knowledge to the community.
The annual meeting is also an opportunity to recognize individuals or organizations who have been helpful and supporting of the extension effort.
Andy and Cheryl Gall, New Paris, were awarded the 2014 Purdue Elkhart County Friend of Extension award. Cheryl began her connection with the 4-H program as a nine-year 4-H member and Andy is a 10-year 4-H member, both through Elkhart County. All three of their sons were 10-year 4-H members.
Together the couple has served over 25 years as leaders of the Elkhart County 4-H Swine Club. They were recently recognized by the Elkhart County 4-H Corporation for their dedication to youth development. Cheryl is a past county president of Extension Homemakers and has also served on the extension board. The Galls are dedicated to being Purdue Extension leaders and have given unselfishly to Purdue Extension.
“This year’s recipients are definitely friends of extension,” said Mary Ann Leinhart Cross, county extension director. “They are caring and willing to go the extra mile … they are wonderful listeners … can do attitude. She always has a smile and willing to lead and help. He is the worker bee and is famous for saying ‘you may not like the answer but I have to be fair.”
The Elkhart County Extension Council members are appointed leaders who elect five board members to the 15-member board. Elected to their first term on the extension board are Tracy Byler, John Leer and Kent Yoder. Re-elected to a second term are Bill Mattern and Terry Shewmaker.
Retiring from the extension board after three years of service were Andrew Kuhn, Kate Rink and Maryann Zerbe.
There were 100 people in attendance to learn about how they need to help “Celebrate 100 Years Plus the Future.”
Program impacts and statistics were presented. Between Oct. 1, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2014, Extension Educators in Elkhart County gave presentations to 22,314 people, took part in 425 meetings with 13,111 people in attendance. They also had 9,314 phone calls during this time period in which educational information was presented. 2,914 people walked through the doors for assistance and there were a total of 394 news releases, newspaper articles, and newsletters written. Educators presented 296 radio and television stories. In 2014 there were 3,150 members enrolled in the traditional 4-H program and 411 enrolled in Exploring 4-H.