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

Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame Inductees

2022 Adam County Chris Nelson

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 3:49 PM

Chris Nelson worked for Extension in Adams County from 1986 until his retirement in 2019. During his years in extension, his work with and for youth was very important to him

From the beginning, he worked to increase the number of 4-H livestock project fair exhibitors by starting a Share-a-Calf program in collaboration with other groups. He noticed that not all 4-Hers who wanted to show livestock could afford it or had the facilities for livestock. One night he bid on and purchased some chicks at the Adams Rural Development banquet. He made sure those chicks went to 4-H’ers for projects that included record keeping. This led to an increase in poultry projects. Chris was responsible for the start of a yearly project fair in Adams County to spark interest in a variety of possible 4-H projects.

Seeing a need he started and helped teach a yearly class about the basics of money management to Corning 6th graders called Money Matters. Chris served on the Adams County 4-H Foundation Committee, helping raise money for the endowment fund to ensure that 4-H will continue in Adams County. From this fund, scholarships are awarded to graduating 4-H members. Chris saw needs and opportunities for 4-H youth all around him. He took his ideas and motivated others to help get things done for the youth of Adams County. In his retirement, he continues to promote youth and their activities through his KCSI radio program, The Corning and Adams County News.

Chris is an active participant in the Corning and Adams County communities. He was a founding member of the Johnny Carson Birthplace Organization, a non-profit that has restored Johnny’s Corning birthplace and offers tours of the home. He helped revitalize the Adams County Cattleman’s Association, serving on the board and as membership chair for many years. He is a member of the Corning Rotary Club and has been honored as a John Harris Fellow. He is a member of the Adams Community Chamber of Commerce. Chris is on the board of directors at the Swedish Heritage Center in Stanton, Iowa. He is a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Villisca where he serves as a ruling elder.

Chris is married to Barb Nelson and lives on a farm near Stanton, IA where they raised their two daughters, Carroll Ann and Cathy, and where he also raises Simmental and Angus breeding stock.

2022 Adair County Kathy Rohrig

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 1:29 PM

Kathy Rohrig spent 23 years working for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Adair  County. Kathy, a Jesup native, began working with Adair County Extension in 1998 as the Neely-Kinyon coordinator. As her role progressed, Kathy began overseeing certification courses offered by Extension. She also eventually took over facilitating the program Speak Out for Agriculture (SOFA), which is a multi-faceted opportunity for area youth to grow in the knowledge and experiences of agriculture, particularly ones beyond family farm ag production. SOFA goes on a two-day, out-of-state trip each year and a planning team, which Kathy supervised, takes care of all of the behind-the-scenes aspects of that trip and other SOFA functions.

Kathy also volunteers on the clothing committee for the Adair County Fair. She has taken many photos of 4-Hers exhibiting their animals at the county fair. In addition, she does all she can to ensure the fair runs smoothly - before, during, and after the fair.

Kathy said, "It’s so exciting to see the impact that Extension and 4-H have in kids, not only younger ones but as young adults growing into leadership roles and accepting those roles. 4-H has always had a special place in my heart and it always will.”

Posted in Adair | Add a comment | Permalink

2022 Wayne County Joyce Lash

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 1:13 PM

Wayne County is pleased to recognize Joyce Lash as the 2022 inductee into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame. Joyce was not a 4-H member as a youth. Her first connection to 4-H happened when her son became a member of the local township club. Several years later, Joyce agreed to become the club’s leader. Becoming a club leader opened the door for Joyce’s long and varied relationship with 4-H and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

In addition to serving as a leader of the large and active Warren Willpower Club, Joyce also became a Wayne County Fair volunteer doing a variety of tasks. When she retired as a club leader, Joyce continued supporting the 4-H program and the Wayne County Fair with her time, talent, and resources. For example, when several leaders and parents asked if someone would teach some young members basic sewing skills, Joyce was asked, and once again she said, “yes.” She planned and led a county-wide beginners sewing workshop.

Joyce made a midlife career change when she left her position as a family and consumer science teacher and joined Iowa State University Extension and Outreach as a family resource management field specialist. Through her Extension work Joyce took the lead in implementing several successful projects that continue to benefit residents of Wayne County and the southern Iowa region. One example is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. VITA provides free tax return preparation for qualified payers. Between 100 and 200 local residents take advantage of this service annually. Joyce is continuing to volunteer with VITA program.

Joyce also initiated discussions that ultimately resulted in the formation of the non-profit Chariton Valley Regional House Trust Fund. This organization’s mission is to provide safe and affordable housing to low and moderate-income residents. It provides valuable resources to communities in upgrading and expanding housing resources. Joyce has always had a passion for life skills and teaching- her mentorship and volunteerism is so appreciated by her community.

Both Joyce and her husband Loris are now retired and living on the Lash family farm. They have two children, Michael and Johanna and four grandchildren.  Wayne County is honored to nominate her for her outstanding service to the community and especially the youth.

2022 State Recognition Dennis Thompson

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:38 PM

Dennis Thompson was raised on a central Iowa farm where his family raised grain crops and livestock. As a boy, he was charged with raising a breeding flock of purebred poultry for a local hatchery. He continued his interest in poultry through 4-H as a youth and into adulthood where he became the poultry superintendent for the Polk County Fair. He then volunteered to take on the superintendent position for the Iowa State Fair, which he maintained for over two decades.

He encouraged his son Matt and daughter Anne to pursue 4-H in their youth, where they showed poultry and dairy goats. Dennis and his son became Master Exhibitors with the American Poultry Association, and they still maintain a small flock of purebred poultry near Ottumwa, Iowa.

Dennis earned a master's degree from Iowa State University and is an English and Humanities professor at Des Moines Area Community College in Boone, Iowa, where he teaches writing, literature, and film.

In 1997, Dennis became a General Licensed Poultry Judge with the American Poultry Association. He has judged 4-H and FFA youth and open shows across the United States and Canada. In 2008, he judged the APA National Meet in Ventura, California. Dennis has shared his poultry expertise while serving in the capacity of Show Superintendent for the Iowa State Fair 4-H Poultry Show for the past twenty-seven years. Dennis currently serves as a board member for the Iowa Poultry Association, an organization that advocates for the poultry industry in Iowa and is dedicated to greater youth education and involvement with poultry.

His experiences with 4-H and poultry would not have been possible without the love and support of his wife Carol and family. Dennis and Carol have been married for forty-three years. They have two grown children, a son Matt (Jeni) and grandchildren Luke, Grant, Mazie, and Isaac, and a daughter Anne (Chris) and grandchildren Alli and Hayden.

Dennis has combined his love of poultry with his passion for education and has encouraged many young people to pursue their interest in 4-H poultry and the poultry industry.

2022 Wright County Mike Marshall

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:37 PM

Mike provides leadership to others while enjoying retirement. He was a 4-H leader for his local club in the 80s. In the years since he continued to work for the benefit of the youth and the community. He is a member of the Wright County Extension Council.

The Hall of Famer is also active when it comes to the Wright County Fair every year. He helps with the livestock in varying capacities. Marshall assists in the pig ring and weighing livestock beforehand.

Perhaps more than any other activity, Marshall is known in Wright County for the support and involvement with 4-Hers that show bottle calves. Every year, he houses several calves at his farm that will eventually make it to the county fair. From start to finish, he involves young people and gives them the opportunity to show bottle calves which would not be possible without him. 

Marshall welcomes kids and families to his farm for these activities. “I think it teaches the kids responsibility and good teamwork,” he said. “They take turns doing the chores at my place and doing the tasks like washing and walking the calves.” He noted that some kids who have had calves at his farm now have children themselves who have animals out there.

4-H leader and mom Jenny Smith describes how instrumental Marshall has been to her daughter. “My daughter Ashlynn has been showing bottle calves since kindergarten.  If it wasn’t for Mike, she would have never had this opportunity.” Smith went on to say that Marshall also helped Ashlynn with showing a market steer the last few years out of the county. “The opportunities that Mike has given Ashlynn have more importantly sparked an interest in her to have a desire to pursue Animal Science in the future.  As a parent and a 4-H leader myself that makes me extremely proud.”

Smith went on to say that Marshall’s volunteerism and support for youth go way beyond just her daughter. “He would do anything for kids.  If he had a kid show up at his barn and said they wanted to start showing chickens, he would figure out a way to make it happen.  It has never been about the money, who you are, or where you live.  Mike Marshall’s barn door is always open to kids who have an interest in showing.”

“He is overall an outstanding Wright County Community member and instills core values to the youth he works with,” said county officials. “He is truly an inspiration to the Wright County 4-H Family.”

2022 Worth County Peter Julseth

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:36 PM

Peter Julseth has been a loyal volunteer to the Worth County 4-H program in multiple ways.  He is serving as a long-time 4-H club leader of the Brookfield Boosters 4-H Club and is a member of the Worth County 4-H Committee. Peter has served more than 20 years and multiple terms as treasurer of the Worth County Extension Council. He can also be found volunteering for 4-H at the Worth County Fair including hundreds of hours this past year taking food orders at the 4-H Food Stand.

Peter has stepped up and been a 4-H chaperone at numerous county, state and national 4-H events including several times as a volunteer chaperone at State 4-H Conference, Washington D.C. Citizenship Trip, 4-H dances, Chicago 4-H Record Book Award Trip and the State Capitol 4-H Legislative Day.  Peter is an extremely responsible and dedicated individual who has been serving in a multitude of ways in his local community including the annual county Cancer Relay for Life and especially the Worth County 4-H program. Peter’s commitment to young people and youth education is commendable.

As a 4-H parent, Peter has motivated his sons Nathanial and Denton to serve the Worth County 4-H program in various capacities. Nathanial is presently serving as a superintendent of the county fair 4-H sheep show and this past year he chaperoned

4-Her’s on the Worth County 4-H Washington D.C. Trip in March. Denton has been a perennial supporter of the State 4-H Conference by transporting 4-H members' luggage to Ames and volunteering every year as a 4-H chaperone.

2022 Woodbury County Denise Knaack

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:35 PM

Denise Knaack, 4-H alum, former fair queen of Dubuque County, and 4-H volunteer for over 30 years is Woodbury County’s 4-H Hall of Fame for 2022.

Denise was the 4-H leader of the Pierson Blue Ribbons. As a leader, she inspired her club members to do record keeping, communicate exhibits, and explore areas based on members’ interests. Since communications is a passion for Denise, she had members give presentations in the club and encouraged them to present at the county fair. Her three sons can vouch for that as they had presentations selected for the state fair.

She has been the superintendent of communications for several terms, and various other departments including foods, home improvement, and the overall building superintendent.  As overall 4-H building superintendent, she organized and oversaw twenty-four other 4-H superintendents, twenty-two building judges, and almost 2000 static exhibits. Denise is currently the superintendent of the Life Skills Judging Contest and the secretary for the 4-H & Fair Committee.

Denise has given workshops on communications, created a kit for check out for the Life Skills Judging and helped with achievement shows. She created the rubric to help with the selection of Woodbury 4-H Hall of Fame nominees.

In 2015 Woodbury County Extension had a groundbreaking for their new extension building. Denise volunteered to create a song for the dedication that included words and music. She held practice sessions for the 4-H members who sang the song during the groundbreaking.

Denise is active in her church and plays the organ and piano almost every Sunday. She plays military taps for Memorial Day Services, volunteers at Pierson Fun Day and is always helping neighbors and friends. She was an educator at River Valley in Correctionville; she taught music and speech. She has been in numerous theater productions in the area as the director or actress. A 4-H member always, Denise continues to have exhibits at the county fair. Her food exhibits, table settings, and heritage food class projects have received grand champions.

Denise and her husband Robert, have a farm outside of Pierson, Iowa. Denise and Robert have three married sons and seven grandchildren.

Woodbury County 4-H would like to thank Denise for her dedication and years of service to the 4-H program.

2022 Winneshiek County Steve Langland

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:33 PM

Winneshiek County is honored to present this year’s Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame to recipient Steve Langland.  Steve has been involved with the 4-H program in Winneshiek County for many years.  Steve was a member of the Highland Hawks 4-H club.  Throughout his time in 4-H, he enjoyed showing cattle at the Winneshiek County Fair.  Following high school, Steve attended the University of Minnesota - Waseca to pursue becoming an agriculture instructor.  After receiving his degree, Steve returned to Winneshiek County to farm with his family on the family farm.  Steve utilized his knowledge, gained from his education, in agriculture to practice farming methods to be successful stewards of the land.  The Langland family continues to prioritize soil conservation in their farming practices today.

Throughout Steve's adult life, he has continued to be involved with the Winneshiek County 4-H program as a volunteer member of the Winneshiek County Youth Development Committee.  He has served on the Winneshiek County Extension Council and the Winneshiek County Foundation Board. He has served as a 4-H club leader, and manager at the Clover Cafe at the Winneshiek County Fair, as well as volunteering and supporting many 4-H events that include the spaghetti supper and omelet breakfast fundraisers.

Steve lives in Highland Township, in the northern part of Winneshiek County.  His parents are Walter and Adeline Langland and he has a sister, Karen. 

While being a longtime volunteer and supporter in the Winneshiek County 4-H program, Steve is also extremely involved in his community.  He has been involved with the Winneshiek County Cattlemen, Winneshiek County Farm Bureau Board, served on the Highland Lutheran Church Council, served on the Spectrum Board of Directors, Aase Haugen Board of Directors, as well as many other community organizations. In recent years, he has been involved with the Community of Hope and has spent time grilling a lot of Iowa Chops.

2022 Winnebago County Julie Hagenson

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:32 PM

Julie is a resident of Winnebago County and has been an Extension Council volunteer for 15 years.

She is a vital part of the community, especially the organizations where she volunteers. Julie provides leadership for Extension and 4-H as an Extension Council member.

Her dedication and hard work benefit the youth and the community in Winnebago County. Julie is an essential component in the planning and facilitation of the County Fair, Family Fall Festival, Family Fun Night, as well as general promotion of 4-H and Extension. Julie brings a unique perspective to the events and activities Winnebago County Extension and Outreach provide. She has been instrumental in making county connections and helping grow the programs that are offered.

Julie is always looking for the next new thing and possibilities to grow the program through developing new community partnerships. She is very creative and truly believes in Winnebago County Extension and Outreach having a strong presence in the community.

Her passion and creativity are highlighted and on display, for all to see at any event she helps with, through her preparation, decorating, and facilitation skills. Julie is a lifelong volunteer, an outstanding Winnebago County Community member, and is truly an inspiration for all Winnebago County residents.

2022 Webster County Richard & Colleen Eslick

Posted on 08/22/2022 at 12:32 PM

Webster County is proud to announce the induction of Richard and Colleen Eslick into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.

Richard and Colleen Eslick are the true definitions of a 4-H’er for life. The Eslicks have been a multi-generational Webster County    4-H family. Richard began his life-long 4-H involvement as a Webster County 4-H member in the mid-60s. He always had a passion for the program and his involvement didn't stop at just being a member. Richard has put forth countless hours as a volunteer. He has been involved with the shooting sports program since its origin and currently serves as one of the project leaders. Richard has a true passion for the shooting sports program and enjoys helping the 4-H members learn about shooting safety and discipline, as well as teaching them valuable life skills.

Colleen Eslick, Richard's wife, also shares the same passion and support for the 4-H program. Although Colleen was not a 4-H member herself, she received the Webster County Honorary 4-H Member award in 1998. For many years, Colleen served as a club leader for the Dayton Tigers 4-H club. She also was involved with the swine committee alongside her husband. Currently, Colleen is one of the project leaders for the Aerospace program, which she too, has a passion for.

Along with being donors to the program, Richard and Colleen are always willing to help, lead, and support the young people involved in Webster County 4-H. The two are more than humbled to receive this honor, and said, they do all that they have done because they love the 4-H program and enjoy the opportunities they have gotten to help others in any way possible.

© 2023 Iowa 4-H Foundation. All Rights Reserved.