Posted on August 23, 2021 at 10:25 AM by Emily Saveraid
There is no better way to describe Loretta and Steve Doepke except to say both are lifelong 4-H’ers. Both were raised on family farms near Denver, Iowa where both families supported 4-H. Loretta grew up a Bennington Booster 4-H Club member, where she carried projects including foods & nutrition, home improvement, clothing, dairy, and beef. For eight years, in a nearby club, the Mt Vernon Pals, Steve focused on dairy, horticulture, science & engineering projects and restored a F-14 Farmall tractor. As high school juniors and seniors, each enjoyed serving on the 4-H County Council.
Following high school Loretta attended Hawkeye Community College and Minnesota’s Hennetic Tech, earning a degree in accounting. Steve also attended Hawkeye Community College, graduating from its diesel truck program.
Loretta’s son as well as Steve’s daughter and son were all longtime participants in 4-H. The Doepke’s commitment to 4-H continued throughout their marriage. Today, Loretta continues serving 4-H, where she helped start and maintain the Bennington Booster School House project. For years now Loretta is the friendly face handing out exhibitor numbers, 4-H t-shirts and answering questions for the 4-H’ers and their families in the fair office. She has also served 11 years as the superintendent of ag & natural resources, engineering and horticulture departments and has over 20 years on the Omelet Breakfast Committee. Loretta has served has a past Black Hawk County Extension Council member for 12 years and Steve has been active on the Extension Council for 10 years.
When not volunteering, Loretta works at the Mid-Iowa Coop as HR manager while Steve works at Rite Environmental. The couple has also managed to find time to volunteer in other areas, Loretta at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank and Steve on their church council and Denver Jaycees.
“I need to say,” Loretta pointed out, “for years I’ve had a great vantage point to see the pride that 4-H’ers have in their projects. It’s always so rewarding; I carry it with me.”
Although no one truly knows the hours that Steve and Loretta have devoted to the success of Black Hawk County 4-H, we are pleased to recognize them for their dedication and for keeping 4-H vision and family involvement a tradition.