Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on August 19, 2019 at 1:25 PM by Global Reach

2019 marks a milestone for Mary Gordon. This will be Mary’s 23rd year as manager of the 4-H food stand at Madison County Fair.Mary Gordon

 Mary has a long history of 4-H involvement. “I grew up in Jefferson Jolly Jets and Jefferson Boosters 4-H Clubs,” Mary stated. While involved in both clubs, Mary enjoyed taking a variety of projects to the fair. She showed Holstein dairy cattle as a member of one club; and crafted a variety of Family and Consumer Science projects in the other.

Mary went on to explain that projects used to primarily focus on one of three Family and Consumer Sciences areas when she was a 4-H member. Spotlighted project topics were Food and Nutrition, Sewing and Home Improvement. “In 4-H, I liked learning,” Mary commented. “I started sewing at age nine. I still enjoy home improvement projects.”

Her 4-H involvement was accentuated with fun activities. “I enjoyed showing at the fair,” Mary recounted. “But I learned a lot, too. I got to be a counselor at camp in Madrid, where I got to meet other kids. One year, I went to conference.” Mary said the group went to Kansas City, MO, and did some sightseeing between educational adventures. The group visited various workplaces, during which they toured an Italian restaurant and kitchen before attended the final banquet.

            Mary’s most memorable 4-H moments have happened within the Madison County 4-H Food Stand, where Mary and her husband have put blood, sweat, and tears into “making the Best Better” for the Madison County 4-Hers. Over the last two decades Mary has seen the 4-H Food stand transform From the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) stand. “We rented the stand for one year, upon the end of the year they offered to sell it in 2000, that is when my husband Larry and I bought the little building and donated it to 4-H.” Mary explained.  After a few years of operation it was time for an upgrade to the 4-H Food Stand. This is when Mary and her husband stepped up and spearheaded a fund raising effort to build a newer and more efficient food stand. In 2002 their efforts paid off and it was out with the old and in with the New Food stand. Mary still to this day enjoys upgrading and working towards bettering the food stand for it to be more efficient.

            Mary has been highly involved in many different areas of 4-H such as being the 4-H leader of Active Achievers 2000-2005. But her best memories are made during county, her favorite free time at the county fair is looking at the projects in the Jackson building.  When asked what brings her back every year she said “By running the fair stand I get to see some of those people I only get to see once a year,”

             Mary will always be a 4-Her at heart, in which 4-H taught her a good work ethic and morals. “When my kids were little, I did custom sewing in my home. I do miss that. I still have people ask if I can help them,” she added. Mary is committed to Madison County 4-H and everyone involved. Every County 4-H Food stand should have someone who goes above and beyond her volunteer duties to ensure the Food Stand does it’s best for Madison County Fair.

Categories: 2019, Madison

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