Marion County’s Janet Ritchie Named 2016 Outstanding 4-H Leader

Marion County’s Janet Ritchie Named 2016 Outstanding 4-H Leader

Marion County’s Janet Ritchie Named 2016 Outstanding 4-H Leader

Iowa 4-H Foundation awards the fourth annual Successful Farming/Loren Kruse Outstanding Iowa 4-H Leader Award
at the 2016 Iowa State Fair

AMES, Iowa – The Successful Farming/Loren Kruse Outstanding Iowa 4-H Leader award is presented each year to an adult volunteer who has encouraged, challenged, and inspired Iowa 4-H members to achieve at their fullest potential. This year’s recipient is Janet Ritchie of Knoxville. Ritchie is the current 4-H leader of the County Crusaders 4-H Club and has served 4-H as a volunteer leader in Marion County for over 48 years.

Award nominations are made by current or past 4-H members. Ritchie was nominated by former 4-H club member, Jenny Petersen.

Petersen says, “Janet never wanted us to settle for mediocre. She always pushed us to make our best better. She made us appreciate life and to never take anything for granted. We have a lot more to be grateful for than we realize.”

In 2014, after developing blood poisoning, Ritchie was forced to have both of her hands and feet amputated. Despite the challenges of adapting to prosthetic limbs, Ritchie has continued to serve the 4-H’ers of her club and county with enthusiasm.

“She (Ritchie) has shown our community just how strong and courageous she is. The youth were especially influenced by her optimistic attitude, despite all that she has been through,” said Petersen.

Not only does Ritchie serve as a 4-H club leader, but she also is the Rabbit Superintendent at the Marion County Fair. An active volunteer, Ritchie also is a member of a number of community organizations and committees including the Marion County Historical Society, Pioneer Cemetery, Indian Hills Rabbit Club, VFW Ladies Auxiliary among others.

Ritchie is the fourth recipient of the Successful Farming/Loren Kruse Outstanding Iowa 4-H Leader Award, joining Wil Groves, Hamilton County (2015); Barb Determan, Sac County (2014); and Claudia Putnam, Muscatine County (2013.) This award comes a $1,000 grant, which the honoree can designate back to Iowa 4-H through their club, county or state foundations. The award was established by Meredith Corporation and the Edwin T. Meredith Foundation through the Iowa 4-H Foundation in honor of Loren Kruse’s retirement as editor-in-chief of Successful Farming magazine. Kruse credits the outstanding guidance provided by his 4-H club leader for the successes he achieved as an adult.

The Iowa 4-H Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and provides the private financial resources to develop and deliver quality 4-H youth programs throughout the state of Iowa. These opportunities help young people enhance their ability to use critical thinking, leadership, communication, and social skills – tools that will give them a competitive edge in their future endeavors.


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