Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame Inductees - Iowa 4-H Foundation

Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame Inductees

2022 Washington County Bill & Mickey Blum

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:29 PM

The 4-H program is special and unique because it allows a family to try new things together. The Bill and Mickey Blum family took full advantage of this when their girls, Ruchel and Leslie, wanted to try out the rabbit project area. Despite their first fair with their rabbits stalled in a horse barn where the sun beat down on the cages, the Blums became smitten with rabbits and wanted to spread the message that rabbits could be for everyone!

Rabbits quickly became part of Bill and Mickey’s livelihood as they grew their own colony at home. They started with Florida Whites, known for meat production. Mickey was content until she spotted a Flemish Giant at a rabbit show and knew that their farm wouldn’t be complete without one. “I begged until I got it,” Mickey recalled. What started out with one cage grew and grew to fill up an old hog house storing anywhere from 100 to 200 rabbits at a time.

Bill stepped in to fill a need as Washington County Fair rabbit superintendent and from the very start, he was “all about the kids” in everything he did. 4-H kids would come to their farm to look at potential rabbit projects. “He often sold the best one,” his daughters laugh now at how they didn’t even get first dibs.  Often when it was time to settle up on price Bill would ask, “What do you have in your pocket?” and accepted only a part of the contents. He was instrumental in growing rabbit project numbers, spear headed tremendous improvements to rabbit facilities at the fair, built new cages by hand, and helped to align the show with the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) standards.

All the while, Mickey kept things going at home by taking care of the rabbit chores and helping their own 4-Hers prepare their projects for the fair. Their Sunday afternoons were dedicated to working with the rabbits as a family. With all this work, Bill still made time for play, too. He was well known for playing pranks and granting nicknames around the rabbit barn. 

His softer side came out at the end of each Washington County Fair Rabbit show when the top rabbits were placed. A few tears would roll down his cheek each time a rabbit from his herd made it to one of the top spots. His daughters remarked that during their 4-H career, “We never won overall (grand champion). Never.”  Bill passed away in 2016 and the very next year, his granddaughter earned top honors with the Overall Grand Champion rabbit at the Washington County Fair.  Still today his family and rabbits from his original herd carry on his legacy.

2022 Warren County Kay Spear

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:28 PM

Kay started her 4-H career back in 1967.  As most farm kids found, 4-H aligned with their upbringing and a natural step to continue their growth. Kay was a member of two 4-H clubs, one boy’ and one girls’ because back then, in order to show livestock, a girl could not join a boys’ club without membership in a girls’ club.  While a girls’ club focused on home economic projects, rotating disciplines each year, the boys’ club was focused on livestock projects allowing her to show market steers at Warren County Fair and Iowa State Fair.

When the local 4-H club in her community needed a 4-H leader, Kay stepped up and took over as a leader for 18 years. This allowed her to be involved and active as their three children passed through their 4-H careers. Many family memories centered around 4-H activities and livestock shows at county and state fairs, along with Ak-sar-ben and IJBBA shows where Kay volunteered with livestock weigh-ins and check-ins.

Kay has also been involved in 4-H as a member on the Warren County Youth Committee along with serving as a board member for the Warren County 4-H Foundation. Kay has served as secretary and current treasurer on the Youth Committee along with treasurer for the Foundation. Kay has volunteered for FSQA testing and teaching classes, judging record books, and working at fundraisers for 4-H Foundation.


2022 Wapello County Allison Angle

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:27 PM

Wapello County is honored to present this year’s Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame inductee to Allison Angle. Allison portrays the image of the ideal volunteer. She doesn’t just do great volunteer work, she strides to find newer, better ways to face complex situations to make a difference in the lives of 4-H members.

Allison raised her own two boys through the 4-H program and has served for many years as a volunteer leader with the Hooves and Hats 4-H Club. She has led many youths in multiple livestock and horse judging contests. She even provides the opportunity during Expo to do livestock judging and puts on an amazing open show that everyone can partake and enjoy. Allison volunteers and contributes to almost every event that is held at the Wapello County Expo Grounds including Barnyard Palooza, STEAMfest, Mayhem, Enchanted Forest, and so much more.

Allison is an inspiration to youth and other volunteers in Wapello County. She is driven by passion and enables members to partake in activities they would not have normally tried. She always encourages youth to try new things and is great at teaching youth new skills. She is willing to take the extra time to answer questions or even loan out her own horse for children to have the opportunity to learn and expand their skills.

2022 Van Buren County Carol Harlan

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:27 PM

Carol Harlan is the leader of the Horseshoe Bend 4-H club in Van Buren County. She has been a leader for the past nine years. Previously she was a leader of the Twinkling Stars 4-H club for three years back in the 70s.

She was also a 4-H member herself for eight years. She is the mother of three daughters who were also involved in   4-H. In my nine years as leader, the Horseshoe Bend 4-H club has grown to roughly 25 members plus a Clover Kids club. The club has had several members participate in leadership roles both within the county and at the state level. 

As a leader, Carol has focused on promoting community service projects. The club has received several Pioneer Grants to make small improvements in their community. The last few years with Covid restrictions the club has shifted its focus to more STEM activities, public speaking and fair projects. She strives to teach inclusiveness and diversity to her club members. She attempts to create new experiences for her members so as they grow, they will hopefully attempt to pursue new interests with confidence. 

Her proudest moments are when she sees former club members excelling at goals they have worked hard to achieve. With four grandchildren now involved in 4-H, Carol plans to continue to be involved in one way or another for several more years.

2022 Union County Danny & Cheryl Purdum

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:25 PM

For more years than anyone can count, Danny and Cheryl Purdum of rural Kent have contributed significantly to Union County 4-H and Clover Kids. These programs would not be where they are today without the Purdums’ efforts.

Danny’s involvement began as a 10-year member of Union County 4-H, showing beef cattle and holding various club and county offices. He inherited his commitment to    4-H from his father, Raymond Purdum, who was a long-time club leader and volunteer. Cheryl, on the other hand, was recruited into the 4-H program when the Union County Extension director recognized Cheryl’s love of children and natural talent for working with them.

The couple was leaders of the Douglas Boosters 4-H club when their sons Cody and Casey were members. In addition, Danny served on the Union County Extension Council. Danny also was integral in reviving fund-raising efforts and activities of the Union County 4-H Foundation in the late 1980s.

In 1996, a grant allowed Extension to hire Cheryl to launch the county’s Clover Kids program. Not only did Cheryl train and assist volunteer leaders with programming that was used in community club meetings, but she also created and carried out monthly after-school Clover Kids programs in both Creston and East Union schools. At its peak, the program served serving more than 400 K-3 children, many of whom continued into 4-H and were members throughout high school. In 2004, Cheryl was recognized by ISU Extension with the Pride of Extension – Program Management Award for “outstanding efforts carried out with much originality or creativity by an individual.”

In 2007, Cheryl became county youth coordinator working with both Clover Kids and 4-H programs for an additional eight years. During her tenure, the county launched shooting sports and robotics special-interest clubs. Cheryl worked with County Council, accompanied 4-H members as they traveled to team-building leadership events throughout the state, and guided members in securing grants to build small-animal wash racks for sheep and new pens for the swine barn.

Today, Danny and Cheryl remain involved with the 4-H program as supportive grandparents of eight grandchildren.

In addition to their service to 4-H and Extension, Purdums co-chaired the Greater Regional Hospice House fundraising committee and are members of the Creston Elks Lodge. Danny also served as a director for the Southern Iowa Rural Water Association, Innovative Industries and the Greater Regional Hospital Foundation. Danny retired as president of First National Bank of Creston in 2018. Cheryl is an avid horsewoman, busy grandmother, and has served on the Southern Prairie YMCA board. The couple operates a family farming operation and registered Angus cowherd with son Cody.

2022 Taylor County Louise Weir

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:25 PM

Louise was a 4-H’er in her youth, a member of the only boys club in Taylor County, as well as the Clayton Cloverleaf Girl’s club. She enjoyed exhibiting static projects, doing demonstrations, and showing cattle at county and state fairs. As an adult, Louise was a leader of the Jackson Gingerettes for 15 years, where each girl was treated as her own daughter. She spent much time at the county office as chairman of the Taylor County 4-H committee. She was a chaperone for the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference, was a delegate for an Iowa Leaders Conference, and judged local Achievement Shows, as well as Ringgold County Girls 4-H Presentations.

Louise’s children were also 4-Hers, showing cattle, exhibiting static projects, and doing demonstrations at county and state levels like their mother before them. Her children were active as presidents and secretary/treasurer of Taylor County Boys and Girls 4-H.

The Weir family participated in the International Farm Youth Exchange Program, welcoming a student from Ecuador. They took him to many activities, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Years later, Louise’s eldest son and his wife piloted a plane to Ecuador, where her son was able to visit his old friend.

Louise was a dedicated farmer's "tomboy" wife. She always raised a large garden, preserving the fruits of her labor, mowed the lawn and helped with the chores and fieldwork. She made many of her and her daughter's dresses, patched many pairs of overalls and jeans (no one went to school or to the field with a hole in their knee), and darned many pairs of socks. Those were always more decorations than repairs.

Besides all of her home responsibilities, Louise was active in her community. She always did her best to help those in need, and was a member of the Union Country Club, the UK Club, the Friendship Club, the Baptist Ladies, and the local and Iowa State Angus Auxiliaries. She served as a state officer, and was president of the Iowa Auxiliary when Iowa hosted a National Angus Auxiliary!

Later in her life, Louise spent much of her time with the Taylor County Historical Society, donating time and relics. Louise embodied each of Head, Heart, Hands, and Health, and placed great stock in the skills of leadership, citizenship, communication, and hard work. She inspired many, including her grand and great-grandchildren to be 4-H’ers, where they have continued her legacy, and learned so much from what 4-H has to offer.

2022 Tama County E.P. & Donna Willey

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:24 PM

Mrs. E.P. Willey, more universally known as Donna, and to many of her 4-H girls as “Aunt Donna”, began as a 4-H member for 11 years. The Chelsea Challengers 4-H Club was founded in 1948, and in the fall of 1949, just a few months after her marriage to E.P. Willey, Donna became the leader of the Chelsea Challengers which would continue to be a priority in her life for 28 years until she had to leave it behind when the family moved.

Girls 4-H club activities in those days included sewing, making clothes, including their 4-H uniforms, home furnishings, canning, cooking, and other activities with each year of club activities focused on particular projects.

As the years passed and the club grew, the Willey house was the location for countless meetings, demonstration practices, Mother-Daughter tea parties and achievement shows.

At the close of the 1951 club year, Donna had to leave Tama County as her husband E.P., who was in the Air Force, was assigned to an Air Force base in Mississippi. Even though 1000 miles away, Donna kept in touch with the club and the girls, and returned to resume as the club leader in May of 1952. In January of 1953, Donna was selected to attend the State 4-H Leader’s Day at Ames. This was an important honor and further enhanced Donna’s skill and enthusiasm as a 4-H leader.

Along the way the club earned numerous honors for county and state fair ribbons, “Best Groomed Girl” competitions, Champion Jelly Maker of Tama County, Style Shows and baking contests. Donna was a 4-H leader of the Chelsea Challengers for 28 years, receiving the Silver, Gold and Diamond Clover awards and the Iowa State Alumni Award in 1975.

When E.P. and Donna’s son Jim was old enough to join the Salt Creek Settlers, E.P. joined as a leader. E.P. guided the club when it was needed but let the youth find their own way when they needed to learn from it. Youth never knew in those days how lucky they were to have the leadership skills taught to them in subtle ways as they learned from wise leaders.

Donna passed away in 2004 and E.P. in 2009. Record books, sleepless nights completing projects for county fair, the thrill of being selected to have your project go to state fair; it was more than a club or learning skills, it was a way of life for the Willey family. 

It is an honor to have this couple inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame! Thank you E.P. and Donna Willey for your dedication to the youth of Tama County.

Posted in Tama, 2022 | Add a comment | Permalink

2022 Story County Bob Jamison

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:22 PM

Bob grew up on a small farm in eastern Story County, the same farm he lives on today. Bob was a nine-year member of the Colo Champs 4-H club. While in 4-H he was involved in a variety of livestock projects including swine, beef, and sheep. Many of these projects were home-raised and taught him a variety of life lessons as well as the value of hard work. He showed them at both the county and state levels.

After his nine years as a member ended, his direct ties to 4-H faded as he followed his interest in agriculture and mechanics as he pursued a degree in diesel mechanics from Kirkwood Community College. Following his schooling, he worked at several John Deere Dealerships before opening up his own Ag

Mechanics shop at his home. Over the years he helped out numerous local 4-H and FFA members on their own mechanics and welding projects that they would bring by his shop for help.

Bob’s 4-H pathway was rekindled when his two sons reached the age when they could join 4-H. Bob and his family dove headfirst into the beef and swine project areas, becoming more and more involved. In the meantime, Bob became a 4-H Leader for the Country Pioneers 4-H club.

As his sons’ 4-H careers came to an end, Bob’s involvement in the local 4-H did not. He is still a leader of the Country Pioneers 4-H club. He has led them in countless community service projects including building wash racks at the county fairgrounds and installation of a large fan in the pavilion. He also offered a hand when a neighboring 4-H club asked for assistance in installing similar large fans in the swine barns at the county fair. Bob also helps house livestock projects for several local 4-H members.

The third line of the 4-H pledge reads “my hands to larger service”-Bob truly lives that out every day. He has nearly 20 years as the Country Pioneers 4-H club leader and continues to assist club members in any way possible. He has spent over 20 years as a volunteer firefighter for the Colo Fire & Rescue helping serve his community. Bob also spent 10 years as a basketball coach at ColoNESCO Community School District, again building leadership and bettering the youth of the community.

Thank you, Bob, for the many years of service and the dedication you show to the Story County 4-H program and 4-H youth!

2022 Sioux County Cheryl Heronemus

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:21 PM

Sioux County is proud to nominate Cheryl Heronemus as their 2022 4-H Hall of Fame candidate.  Cheryl has served, guided, and provided leadership to Sioux county for 45 years. 

She started her career as a county youth coordinator in 1977 for five years.  Cheryl then moved into the county director position for 27 years.  For the last 13 years, she has served as regional director for Region 1.

Cheryl has provided leadership to Sioux County and Region 1.  Region 1 consists of the counties of Sioux, O’Brien, Lyon and Osceola. Cheryl links county extension councils, employees and clientele with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to ensure that quality programs are delivered to meet identified needs of Iowans. Cheryl develops partnerships among county staff, extension councils and colleges at Iowa State University resulting in new endeavors.  She was instrumental in starting the Rising Star program. 

Cheryl has mentored new regional directors and supports field specialists and county staff. Cheryl has helped lead Region 1 to collaborate by creating shared regional positions like media specialist, human science coordinator, horticulture assistant, and summer educators.  As a regional director, Cheryl ensures the effectiveness of each county extension council through education, training, coaching, and consultation

Sioux County would like to thank Cheryl Heronemus for her 45 years of service to ISU Extension and Outreach.

2022 Shelby County Cindy Hanson

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:20 PM

Cindy (Adams) Hanson is a lifelong Shelby County resident.  Cindy grew up near Kirkman and graduated from Irwin Kirkman Community School in 1969.

Growing up, Cindy was a very active member of the Douglas Dixies 4-H club and Boots and Saddles 4-H club exhibiting clothing, food, and nutrition projects, as well as being active in showing her many 4-H horse projects, which was a family tradition.  With her horse projects, she won many awards, not only at the county level but also at the Iowa State Fair and AkSarBen.  In 1968 Cindy has crowned the Shelby County Fair Queen.

After high school, Cindy attended Commercial Extension School of Business and worked in Omaha.  In 1971 she returned to Shelby County and married Karl Hanson where she became, and remains, a very active part of their farming operation near Kirkman.  Cindy and Karl have four grown children, Stacy, Rachelle, Lisa, and Gabe.  All were involved in Shelby County 4-H with the Douglas Dixies, Douglas Wise Owls, later combining with the Douglas DoRights, and Boots and Saddles 4-H clubs.  Cindy spent many years as club leader for the Douglas clubs and Boots and Saddles club where she led project meetings, passing on her horse riding and other skills to the next generation. She organized horse shows as well as helped with all the other cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, rabbits, and other projects for the kids.

Cindy’s involvement in Shelby County 4-H and the county fair has truly been a lifelong family affair.  Her husband Karl was a long-time Shelby County 4-H member and served many years on the Shelby County fair board with Cindy’s help in many of the volunteer capacities.  Activities included organizing and staying involved in the 4-H and open class horse shows, working with the 4-H static exhibits and buildings, and now serving as one of the open class superintendents for the fair.

Cindy also stays busy through the summer supporting her 10 grandchildren who are also active 4-H members in their counties with various static and livestock projects including, horses, cattle, hogs, and their many other school activities.

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