Rebecca (Brownlee) Shull was born and raised in Farragut, Iowa and joined 4-H for the first time as a “betty member” in 1959 at the age of 8. She recalls begging her parents to let her join. Her parents, both 4-H leaders, were happy to find a way for Becky to join her brothers in the fun of 4-H. In the 1950’s, 4-H clubs were designated as boys’ clubs or girls’ clubs. In Fremont County alone, there were 7 boys’ clubs and 7 girls’ clubs. Becky was a charter member of the Fisher Loyal Workers.
During Becky’s time in 4-H, she participated in a variety of projects such as sewing, cooking, home furnishings, livestock and demonstrations. She credits 4-H with alleviating a bad case of stage fright. A leader encouraged her to do a demonstration showing the best method for packing a suitcase. She was very scared, but she got up on stage, did the demonstration, and hasn’t been quiet since!
Becky’s favorite memory of 4-H is that of Rally Day, an annual event during which nominees were selected for county 4-H office. They followed the Iowa 4-H ceremony and used real clover to create a chain that was worn around the shoulders of 4-Hers and then arranged on the floor into the shape of a giant 4-leafed clover. Each new officer was seated in one leaf of the clover and the 4-H pledge was recited. Becky loved the songs most of all. “Dreaming,” “Four-Leaf Clover,” “4-H Ceremonial Song,” and the “4-H Field Song” will stay in her mind and her heart forever.
In 1973, Becky became the leader of the same club she had chartered 15 years earlier. As a leader, one of the most meaningful service projects her club did was to serve a special meal, annually, to all of the Farragut widows. She led the club for 25 years. She noted that even for her kids, remaining committed to 4-H was challenging because of constant time conflicts.
In 1993, Becky had the privilege of organizing a 75th anniversary program for Fremont County 4-H. What an amazing event it turned out to be! The old 4-H songs were performed, and the clover chain ceremony was re-enacted. Alumni even modeled the old 4-H uniforms Becky had carefully preserved in one of her many 4-H projects—a restored trunk.
Since 1989 Becky has been the secretary of the Fremont County Fair Association and also serves as an open class superintendent. “I truly believe we are working towards a bigger and better 4-H program,” says Becky. “We are getting third generation 4-Hers back in our rural communities and they are enrolling their kids because they know the value of 4-H. Like me, they feel 4-H has been very rewarding.”
Becky and her husband, Tom, own Shull Hardware in Riverton, Iowa. Tom is the fourth generation owner of this 105 year old business. Becky has been a school bus driver for 40 years. Becky and Tom have three married children. Becky and Tom are the proud grandparents of eight grandchildren whom Becky looks forward to helping with their future 4-H projects and exhibits.