Posted on April 7, 2011 at 2:24 PM by Global Reach
Throughout its history, Fremont County 4-H has been extremely fortunate to have individuals who have given an extraordinary amount of time and dedication to the 4-H program and Extension service. One of those individuals was Paul McElroy, who started working with Fremont County Extension in 1943 and continued until his death in 1966. Prior to that time, Paul was a youth worker for Extension for two years in Franklin County and Fayette County Extension Director for 10 years. He had also been a member of one of the first 4-H clubs inaugurated in Fremont County from 1922-1924.
During his time with Fremont County Extension, Paul McElroy served on numerous committees for Farm Bureau, Fair Board, and Extension – including 17 years on the 4-H Youth Committee. Some of his most significant accomplishments were during his service as Fair Board president. Under his leadership the Fair Committee completed articles of incorporation and Fremont County had its first county fair August 1-3, 1955. He was instrumental in fundraising efforts to construct livestock barns and other buildings on the land that was leased from the Sidney Legion Post to be used for the county fair. In 1958, the Fremont County Fair Board and county 4-H girls prepared and served meals during the Sidney Rodeo in order to help pay the debt on the fair buildings. This became an annual tradition and the Rodeo Dining Hall became a very popular place for rodeo-goers and contestants alike for years to come. In 1959, after the death of Richard Lorimor, a Fremont County 4-H’er participating in the 4-H Youth Exchange program, McElroy headed efforts to raise money for a memorial to be erected in his honor. In 1964 Paul retired from Fair Board, after serving as an officer and director for the ten years of its existence.
His endless devotion and dedication to Extension and 4-H earned Paul special recognition and a variety of awards over the years. In 1957 he was given the Alumni Recognition Award which honors 4-H club members whose accomplishments following 4-H club membership exemplify effective community leadership, public service, service to 4-H club work and success in their chosen careers. He was nominated for State 4-H Alumni Recognition by the Boys’ 4-H Committee that same year. Paul received the Meritorious Service to 4-H Award in 1959, recognized for being instrumental in the organization of the county fair, a constant booster of 4-H, and helping to build a strong 4-H program. After his death in 1966, a pin oak was planted at camp in his memory and in 1967 the Fair Board renamed the Rodeo Dining Hall the McElroy Dining Hall in Paul’s honor.
McElroy was a graduate of Iowa State University. He was active in his church and served as a volunteer and president of the Iowa Heart Association. In 1960 he was the Republican candidate from Fremont County for the Iowa House of Representatives and was elected to two terms from 1961-1964. Paul’s wife and all four children were very active in 4-H.