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

Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame Inductees

2018 Woodbury County: Wayne and Janet Ralston

Posted on 08/30/2018 at 7:44 PM

Wayne and Janet Ralston are the 2018 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame inductees for the Woodbury County 4-H program.  Together, Wayne and Janet have over 70 years of service for Woodbury County Extension and the Woodbury County 4-H program.  Wayne served on the Woodbury County Extension Council in the late 70’s and early 80’s. 

Janet started volunteering for 4-H soon after their daughter joined 4-H.  Both Janet and Wayne have served as 4-H fair superintendents in swine, herdsmanship, and livestock at the Woodbury County Fair.   They have also served as superintendents in the 4-H building for foods, child development and other departments as needed.

Wayne and Janet are members of the 4-H and Fair Committee.  This committee is a sub-committee of the 4-H Youth Committee.  In the early 80’s Wayne was on the ad-hoc committee and it was decided superintendents would serve a 3-year term.  That decision is still working after almost 40 years.

Wayne was once asked what would happen if he wasn’t involved in 4-H.  He said nothing, 4-H would continue.  He would be wrong; both he and Janet have made a difference in the Woodbury County 4-H program.  They have put their heart and soul into solving problems that arise in the 4-H program.  Wayne does not brush controversy aside but instead solves problems to make 4-H better.   There are numerous guidelines in the 4-H fair book that Wayne and Janet, along with others, helped create so the rules can be understood by 4-H families and to make rules that are fair for all.

Wayne is currently the chair of the 4-H and Fair Committee.  Janet is currently the 4-H Fair Superintendent in Personal Development and Child Development and a member of the 4-H and Fair Committee.  Wayne volunteers to write comments for the 4-H judges.  Janet also volunteers at the Woodbury County Library in Moville, Iowa.  Both Janet and Wayne have been supportive of youth in their community.

Wayne and Janet live in the country near Moville, Iowa.  They have one daughter, Rochelle Ralston.  Rochelle and James Ferguson have one son, Laszlo Ferguson.

Posted in Woodbury, 2018 | Permalink

2018 Worth County: Jerry Hopperstad

Posted on 08/30/2018 at 7:43 PM

Jerry Hopperstad, has been “Mr. Worth County Fair” for over 40 years.  He has served as president of the Worth County Fair Board and continues to serves as a tenured Worth County Fair manager. Jerry  served in several positions on the State Fair Association and Iowa State Fair Board. He has served for the past 25 years on The Iowa Fair Association and served as president of the Iowa Fair Association in 2016 and 2017. While on the Worth County Fair Board as president and manager the Worth County Fair has been honored as a Blue Ribbon County on two separate occasions in recent years.

Jerry has been a major supporter of the Worth County 4-H program and was twice named as a Worth County Honorary 4-H Alumni member. He has been a long time volunteer and past member of 4-H and was president of his Hartland Township 4-H club as a senior high 4-Her.

Jerry Hopperstad has been an extremely cooperative representative of the Worth County Fair Board with Worth County 4-H benefiting from this positive relationship. He also served his community and the public in many ways including being elected as president of the Iowa Insurance and Financial Advisors Association.  

As a 4-H parent, Jerry motivated his daughter, Jodi, and son, Jay, to get involved in 4-H and the Worth County Fair. For the past several years Jerry has devoted his time to busing 4-Her’s to the annual Iowa State    4-H Conference in Ames and 4-H Junior Camp at Floyd, Iowa.

Posted in Worth, 2018 | Permalink

2018 Washington County: Nancy Schmidt

Posted on 08/30/2018 at 7:38 PM

Nancy Schmidt’s involvement with 4-H began as a member of the Cinderellas 4-H Club in Washington County.  It was there she learned to set goals and work to reach them, skills that served her well throughout her career.  Her project areas in 4-H prompted her to go into Home Economics as a career and later extension work. 

During her 24-year career in Extension Nancy served as the Washington County 4-H Youth Coordinator, the Washington County Extension Director and as an Extension Youth Development Specialist serving 5 counties, including Washington. 

4-H holds many good memories for Nancy.  As a 4-Her she was awarded a trip to Chicago. She visited Washington, D.C., on the citizenship trip as a 4-Her and later as a volunteer.  As a summer 4-H intern in Washington County, Nancy remembers a love/hate relationship staff had with the old mimeograph machine, and later their first computer – so big it would hardly fit on a desk -- and making recordings for the radio station on a reel-to-reel tape recorder.  She acknowledges technology has been the biggest change to communication.

It was during Nancy’s tenure that 4-H clubs began transitioning to coed clubs and non-gender specific club names.   She also initiated 4-H Clover Kids for the county, which has grown to eight clubs and 156 members.   Nancy re-introduced the babysitting course which still trains nearly 40 new babysitters each year. 

Those who had the privilege of working with Nancy speak to her organizational skills and ability to handle situations with a calm, thoughtful manner.    “Nancy’s leadership continues to show in Washington County 4-H. When I was a 4-Her, Nancy taught me the first steps in becoming a leader and a mentor. Nancy taught me how to build leaders, which are the past and current members and volunteers of Washington County 4-H.   Her ability to lead by example has contributed to the rich tradition of 4-H.”

Nancy noted that volunteers are the heart of 4-H and Extension programming.  She loved feeling the success of the 4-H program and watching kids grow into leadership positions in the 4-H organization, which helped them in other areas of their life.

Nancy sums it up best herself, “4-H has provided me with many opportunities.  As a 10-year 4-H member, I learned ‘how to’ skills in a variety of subjects, and developed leadership and communications skills.  All of that helped me in formulating my career goal in education......from teaching home economics to my 24 years in extension education.    I continue to support the 4-H program and its success in developing young people with the guidance and support of adult volunteers.”

2018 Winneshiek County: Kristi Berge

Posted on 08/30/2018 at 7:36 PM

Winneshiek County is honored to present this year’s Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame inductee, Kristi Berge. Kristi has served as the 4-H leader for the Glenwood 4-Her’s (formerly known as Glenwood Future Homemakers 4-H Club) in Winneshiek County for 32 years.  Her devotion to the program has encouraged many members to exhibit at the county, district and state levels. She is very proud of the Winneshiek County 4-H program and the many opportunities it provides the youth of the county.

Kristi and her husband, Mark, live in Decorah.  Their family includes daughter Michelle and husband Ryan Einck, along with three grandchildren; Keagen, Karter, and Karlie.  Kristi’s daughter, Michelle was very involved in 4-H at the county and state levels. Now Kristi’s three grandchildren carry on the family 4-H tradition.

Kristi didn’t have the opportunity to be in 4-H while growing up in the small community of Sattre, in Winneshiek County, but when her daughter, Michelle became involved in the program Kristi stepped up to become a leader.  When Michelle graduated, Kristi stayed on as the club leader as her niece and nephew became involved in 4-H.  Kristi spent countless hours as a 4-H leader assisting many members with ideas and exhibits for the fair. 

Winneshiek County is fortunate to have a volunteer like Kristi. Her willingness to listen and encourage youth to be the best they can be deserves to be honored. Because of her dedication to 4-H, Kristi was recognized with the Honorary 4-H Award at the 2012 Winneshiek County Fall Awards banquet.

Kristi volunteers in many ways.  She volunteers at her church teaching Sunday school, being the treasurer of the Glenwood Lutheran Church Women, and helping her circle coordinate the baking of Kringla, a Norwegian favorite, for the Nordic Fest celebration in Decorah.  For the last 40 plus years Kristi first assisted, and now coordinates, the open textile booth at the Winneshiek County Fair.  If you don’t see Kristi in the textile booth at the fair, you will see her supporting her grandchildren and 4-H club members at the community building and livestock shows. 

2018 Winnebago County: Gary Wunder

Posted on 08/30/2018 at 7:33 PM

Gary was a vital part of the Winnebago County extension office for over 20 years while he served on the Extension Council, 5 of those years as Extension Council Chair.  He was also an active member of the Winnebago County Fair Board for several years.

During his time, he went above and beyond to assist staff and county programs. Even after resigning from his position as Council Chair in 2016, Gary has continued to help Extension staff with programing needs and often stops in to visit. 

You may not always see Gary at an event, but he was and continues to be a vital source behind the scenes to make our county events run smoothly and effectively.

His “to-do” list was never cut and dried. It ranged from executive decisions as council chair to hauling hay bales and corn for our annual Fall Festival, as well as helping staff or county volunteers.

Gary believes strongly in the Extension Mission and the 4-H program and is always willing to help educate and promote 4-H to the youth of Winnebago County.

2018 Wayne County: Dan and Cheryl Goretska

Posted on 08/30/2018 at 7:27 PM

Wayne County would like to introduce Dan and Cheryl Goretska as our 2018 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame inductees.  

We recognize Dan and Cheryl for their numerous contributions they have given on behalf of the Wayne County Fair and 4H youth. 

Beginning in 1977, Cheryl served as leader for the all-girls club, Jefferson Clay Livewires.  She then later became leader of the Benton Battlers and Dan began assisting in 1982.  Both served as club leaders for all 4 of their children until 2002.  Yes, Cheryl served a total of 25 years as a club leader!

Both were very active in the fair board and could be found helping with various activities during the fair as well as other events throughout the year.  Both are longtime supporters of the Wayne County Fair; in 1997 they began to co-sponsor all 3 Champion Market Animal belt buckles and continue to do so today.

Dan and Cheryl now enjoy watching their grandchildren exhibit livestock at various shows across the Midwest.   

2018 Webster County: JoAnn Lennon

Posted on 08/30/2018 at 6:16 PM

Webster County is proud to induct JoAnn Lennon into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.

Although JoAnn was never in 4-H growing up, she married into a strong 4-H family who encouraged her to enroll her own children in 4-H. When her children started 4-H, she did whatever was needed to help out and decided to become a leader of the Washington Winners 4-H Club in 2008. ​​​​​​​She also supports the project leaders of the poultry and rabbit group. 

Many of her favorite memories involve the moments when each of her five children worked hard on a project and were very pleased at the final outcome. Sometimes they were selected for state fair for their work while other times they had to be satisfied with their own conviction that they had done it the best they could.

JoAnn’s best personal experience was being able to chaperone the Citizenship Washington Focus trip to Washington D.C. in 2010. She loved watching the kids gain a new respect for our history. Additionally, what JoAnn enjoys most about being part of 4-H is watching the young, hesitant members turn into the confident, leaders of the group.

Club members describe JoAnn as a “very caring, kind, and patient adult. She is a great leader of character. JoAnn provides guidance to anyone and everyone who needs it. JoAnn has characteristics that draw people to her and she is definitely a worthy recipient of this recognition.”

Her daughters have followed JoAnn’s example by leading the Webster County Pet Project, serving as a Youth Committee member, and helping throughout the year with numerous events including the fair.

Webster County would like to thank JoAnn for her dedication, guidance, and selflessness to our youth and the 4-H program. Congratulations, JoAnn!

Posted in Webster, 2018 | Permalink

2018 Wright County: Dr. Doug Helgevold, DVM

Posted on 08/21/2018 at 4:34 PM

Dr.Doug Helgevold, lives on the Eagle Township family farm in Wright County where he was born and raised and actively participated in 4-H.   Although he couldn’t recall the name of the club at the time he was a member (he said they’ve changed since he was a kid), he could recollect many of the memories he made as part of the group. 

One of his first comments was “I had a lot of fun being involved in 4-H.”  His main involvement was showing cattle, but he also had a lot of fun playing on the 4-H softball team.

“I learned about good sportsmanship,” he said.

Dr.Doug and his wife, Carolyn, had two children.  Dr. Helgevold is proud to say they were both involved in Wright County 4-H as well.  Since their dad was a veterinarian at the Goldfield Veterinarian Clinic since 1977, it’s no wonder they also showed a lot of livestock at the Wright County Fair over the years.

In the mid-1980s, Dr. Helgevold bought Goldfield Veterinary Clinic from Dr. Stoakes.  In 1990, he began serving as the Wright County Fair veterinarian.  A duty which he is still proud to be fulfilling today.  He said the job consists of checking all the animals the kids bring to the fair to make sure they are healthy, and treating any animals if needed during the fair. 

Two years after taking on the responsibilities of animal health at the Wright County Fair, Dr. Helgevold agreed to make a difference in the lives of the people who attended the county event as well.  From 1992 - 1998 he served as a member of the Fair Board and was the Sheep Show Superintendent. “I’ve always enjoyed the fair and wanted to support it,” he said.  He added the thing he enjoys most about being involved in the Wright County Fair is the kids.

While Dr. Helgevold is very honored to have been named the 2018 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame Inductee from Wright County, he said “I really don’t feel like I’ve done anything special to deserve this recognition, but it’s quite an honor.  I’ve always enjoyed the fair and I’ve always enjoyed 4-H,” said Dr. Helgevold.

2018 State Recognition: Lois Warme

Posted on 08/21/2018 at 4:13 PM

Lois Warme was a nine year 4-H’er from Calhoun County belonging to the Garfield Gleam Girls and Garfield Go-Getters 4-H Clubs.  She served in several club officer positions as well as a County 4-H Girls Officer.  Accomplishments included selection to attend the Home Improvement Award trip to Chicago, the State Forestry Camp, and State 4-H Conference at ISU.  A special 4-H honor for Lois was having her redecorated bedroom selected for display at the Iowa State Fair in the 4-H exhibit area (under the grandstand then) by Emelda Kunau, State Home Improvement Specialist, who became a life-long mentor for Lois as she pursued her career. 

Lois’ participation in the IFYE (International Farm Youth Exchange) program to Australia in 1969-70 was another highlight which followed Lois’s active 4-H career.  After receiving her Applied Art/Interior Design degree from ISU, and working on her graduate degree in Interior Design, Stan Davidson, Director of the IFYE program, encouraged Lois to apply for the State Extension Applied Art position.  Which she did!!

During her 39 year Extension career Lois became an Associate Professor in the College of Design teaching students in the interior design degree program, as well as facilitating the adult Extension program in Families and Communities.   She also provided support for the 4-H Home Improvement project.  Development of 4-H project materials included the series, Discovering Design, Accessory Accents, Furniture Facts, Fabric Furnishing, and Survival Skills.  She trained staff in seven states using these materials, as well as, training to staff and volunteers throughout Iowa in different settings and methods. 

To provide opportunities for 4-H youth to have meaningful learning experiences, Lois worked with others to evaluate the SMA (Science, Mechanics and Arts) project area.  This effort later became the basis for the development of the 4-H Visual Art Division. 

Lois has shared her expertise with others via a variety of learning opportunities by organizing and presenting workshops on Aesthetic Responsibility, First Home Away from Home, Universal Design, as well as wood finishes and faux painting techniques.  In addition she developed study tours for youth on furniture styles at Living History Farms and visits with designers in their workplace, all efforts utilizing creative ways to share information with youth and adults.

Lois maintained connection with 4-H serving as a leader for the Washington A.M.E.S. 4-H Club for 11 years.  She helped the club organize and enjoy their annual weekend ski trip to Alton Alps and helped at the Story County Fair.

Highlights Lois noted were meeting 4-H’ers, parents and leaders around the state in various settings and learning opportunities.   Her greatest satisfaction comes by hearing from those she has met and worked with, what they learned and found beneficial in their lives and for their families.

Lois’s final comment was:  4-H has given me so much.

2018 State Recognition: Janis Stone

Posted on 08/21/2018 at 4:12 PM

Janis Stone joined 4-H as a 10 years-old in Illinois in 1948.  Her first sewing project was a cotton print skirt and scarf.  Her sewing projects were exhibited at Illinois State Fair three years in the 1950s.  Another 4-H highlight was attending 4-H Leadership Camp. These details were as important when she applied to be a Textiles and Clothing State Specialist at Iowa State University, as her 1978 Ph.D. from University of Illinois. 

Jan’s first day on the job at ISU was at the 1979 Iowa State Fair.  Two programs, with 4-H’ers modeling home sewn garments in Fashion Revue, and purchased outfits in Clothing Selection.  4-H’ers first modeled on the Tea Room Stage of the then downtown Younkers Store, and ended with a Show at the State Fair 4-H Exhibit Building. Through the years Jan worked on revising these events that have continued to change since her 2003 retirement.  Jan depended on volunteers such as Ruth Wagner, Kathy Parsons, Eleanor Meyerhoff and senior 4-H’ers to help organize and write the narratives for the respective shows which included the county 4-H girls and boys selected to participate.

Jan’s first big writing challenge at ISU was to help update 4-H Clothing Project materials to include design, textiles, decision-making, clothing care and grooming in addition to sewing construction.  After state-wide consultation, a pilot study, many drafts, and polishing off with line art and editing by ISU Communications Staff these materials were printed; then updated as needed.  Jan also scripted videos, slide sets and other resources for County 4-H staff and volunteers use.  She helped with Iowa State Fair 4-H exhibit classes, judges training, and award selection.  Near retirement, Jan worked with colleagues at Cornell University in NY on regional 4-H clothing project guides.

Jan wrote many Extension and journal publications and gave national and international presentations on textiles, pesticide and sun safety, that were based on her 20-year membership on the USDA NC-170 Regional Research Committee.  Big crowds came to the ISU Farm Progress Show Tent to participate in displays on protective gloves, sun-safe hats, and shady t-shirts, in cooperation with central Iowa dermatologists, who provided skin cancer screening.

In 1989-91, Jan served on ISU Faculty Senate.  She was on the I-CASH (Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health) Committee for several years.  Jan’s awards included the Regent’s Award in 1995, the ISU Foundation Award for Extension Achievement in 1998, the Bobbin Magazine Educator of the Year Award in 1999, and the Iowa Center for Agricultural Safety and Health Hall of Fame Award in 2005.

The book Jan co-authored with her husband, Dr. Kenneth Stone, My Darling Wife: Letters from Vietnam 1962-63 and 66-67, was published in 2007 based on the letters Ken wrote to her during the war.  They spend winters in Texas, near their two sons and five grandchildren.  Now Jan enjoys friends, family events, visiting their Illinois Farm, writing poetry, sewing quilt tops, reading, and traveling.  Jan belongs to Collegiate United Methodist Church in Ames, AAUW, the Iowa Poetry Association, the Art Museum of South Texas and the Art Center in Corpus Christi, TX.

Jan recalls a poem she learned as a teen at 4-H Leadership Camp:  “Two looked out from prison bars, one saw dirt, the other stars.”  Life is good if one keeps looking for stars!

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