Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on August 9, 2013 at 8:43 AM by Global Reach


Dennis and Pauline SweetIt is in a quiet and unassuming way that Dennis and Pauline Sweet of Arispe, Iowa, have supported 4-H through the years. Dennis, who inherited his father’s love for children and working with youth, began as a 4-H member in Ringgold County, then switched to Union County 4-H when his father Francis founded the first club in Pleasant Township, Pleasant Pals, where Dennis and his siblings were members. Dennis served as treasurer, secretary and president and remembers learning a lot, particularly the importance of recordkeeping through his work as club treasurer. His project work focused on showing sheep, and he loved working with the animals. His remembers his first lamb weighed 120 pounds, and was of course, a bit spoiled. Even at the fair, it would drink water only from a nipple bottle.

Dennis and Pauline had no children of their own, but Dennis was always available to help members with their sheep projects before and during the fair, and to haul animals, restored tractors and many other exhibits to county and state fairs. Many years, his car trailer was used as the base for the fair parade float for a nearby club. He never requested payment and rarely, if ever, accepted payment and then only under protest.

Dennis and Pauline volunteered many years on the Union County Fair Board. The Snack Shack was their area of responsibility, keeping everyone supplied with cotton candy, lemonade and ice cream. Pauline remembers many long hours in the cook shack, and when the fair was all over, Dennis hauled lambs to the processing plant following the livestock auction. A big part of this involved comforting the young members who were saying goodbye to their lambs. Those who know Dennis and his soft heart, understand he had a hard time not tearing up himself.

For nearly 35 years the couple has supported the Union County Fair Livestock Auction. Dennis takes his usual seat during the auction, buying animals from members in his area of the county, particularly the youngest members, just getting started in the 4-H program.

Pauline is well known for her famous pies and annually donates six to 10 fruit or pecan pies for auction in support of local scholarships, camps, project materials and Clover Kid program supplies.   The reputation of her delicacies always bring the top dollar at the auction. Each year, Pauline says will be her last, but as the Union County Fair rolls around she will be getting her pies ready.

Why the devotion to helping kids by supporting the 4-H program? “Well,” says Dennis, “I just think that 4-H is very important for the kids. It is a good program and it helps kids in a lot of ways. I guess too, like my Dad, I really enjoy the kids.”  

In addition to their devotion to 4-H, Dennis and Pauline are very active in the Shannon City Community Church, where Dennis serves as Treasurer. They both have been school bus drivers and Dennis served on the Union County Sherriff’s reserves. They have a son, two daughters, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.



Categories: Union

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