Posted on August 23, 2020 at 12:00 PM by Global Reach
Mike Finnegan was an active member on the Guthrie County Youth Committee from 2011 through 2017. Through his membership, Mike helped design and evaluate youth programs, review budgets, establish policies to promote and regulate the 4-H program, and establish rules to coordinate the program at county fair. He always enjoyed helping youth learn through yearly Food Safety and Quality Assurance activities. He served for many years on the Silent Auction Committee which helps raise funds for the 4-H program.
Karen Finnegan began her 4-H involvement when her oldest son, Shaun, was a member of the Wichita Wildcats group and her younger son, Caleb, desired an interest in 4-H activities. Caleb was 4 years old and too young to join a transitional 4-H club. In 2003, out of a need for trying to meet younger kids’ desires to be members in a 4-H program similar to their older siblings, Karen organized Clover Kids 4-H group in Guthrie County and remained the leader until 2008. She implemented Clover Kids’ first animal show at the county fair where the members either took a real animal or a stuffed animal and explained to a judge how they care for their project. This show remains an annual event at the county fair. The members also display their craft projects, along with the older members’ projects in the static exhibit building. Monthly curricular lessons include similar transitional 4-H projects such as photography, sewing, livestock, community service, etc. After 2008, she helped with the Wichita Wildcats group where both her sons were members. Over her years of volunteering with 4-H, Karen always encouraged members to engage in a new project that they had not necessarily considered. Karen's highlights of activities included chaperoning at the National 4-H Citizenship Washington Focus in Washington, D.C. in 2015. She continues to keep in contact with several of the 4-H members that she met. Each year at the county fair, Karen assists with the 4-H Dog Obedience Show. She enjoys seeing how the kids within her county counties to make 4-H a priority in their lives.
Mike and Karen were honored recipients of the 4-H Alumni Award in 2019. Both have not missed an Iowa State Fair in years. They enjoy touring the livestock barns and shows and visiting with members about their projects, and spend hours in the 4-H Exhibit Building admiring all the members’ innovative exhibits. Outside their 4-H roles, Mike and Karen engage in both livestock and row crop farming on their century and heritage farms. Mike works as a United State Postal Service rural route carrier, and Karen has been employed with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office for 44 years this summer.