Posted on March 31, 2011 at 2:01 PM by Global Reach
Dr. John Conley is a familiar face to Plymouth County as well as the Plymouth County Fair. John’s memories of 4-H trail all the way back to 1942 when he was just a young 4-H’er from rural Kingsley, Iowa, learning how to show pigs. Little did John know that this was only the beginning for his love of 4-H and of animals. It was June 10, 1955, when John became a veterinarian and he is still going strong after 50 years! John remembers arriving in Le Mars to begin his vet practice in 1961, just one week before the Plymouth County Fair only to find out that he had to serve as the Fair Vet. John must have made a good impression, as he hasn’t missed a day of the Plymouth County Fair since. During those years all of John’s children would belong to 4-H exhibiting sheep, hogs, and cattle.
Dr. Conley works endless days at the fair, but the atmosphere, stock shows, food stands, and his “fair junkie” wife Barbara keep him coming back for more. Over the years he has seen many children down in the dumps because their animal is sick and they don’t think they will be able to show it. Dr. Conley said it makes him feel great about what he does when he can make the animal better and see the excitement of that child to get to exhibit the animal they have worked so hard on all year. Not only is Dr. Conley known for helping out the 4-H’ers in that kind of crisis, but he can also be found giving rides in the wagon pulled by his team of horses. He does this along with the help of his wife Barbara.
One of Dr. Conley’s fondest memories of the fair is helping a 4-H’er deliver a calf one dark, rainy night. He remembers being in the show arena assisting the cow while a hundred fair goers stood by watching with flashlights! He’ll never forget the sound of cheers and applause when the calf was finally delivered!
John’s service to the community doesn’t end here. He is on the Plymouth County Extension Council, member of the Merrill Lion’s Club and American Legion, on the Board of Directors for the S.T.A.R.S. program in Sioux City, active in his church, and a member of the Iowa Veterinary Medicine Association.
In all these years as Fair Vet, John has given so much to the fair and the exhibitors. He said he had no idea what a great impact it would have on his business. Dr. Conley said that is seems like everybody in Plymouth County has gotten to know who he is and his business has prospered from that support. Plymouth County 4-H however is the one who has really benefited through this relationship. He is truly a friend of 4-H in Plymouth County!
We appreciate all that you have done for us Dr. Conley!