By Elisa Sand
Two of the inductees into the 4-H Volunteer Hall of Fame have made lasting impressions on the 4-H programs in Edmunds and Campbell counties.
Elaine Kanable of Mound City and Dale Curtis of Ipswich were inducted on Sept. 3, along with Dianne Thyen of Hayti; Jerry and Carmen Grace of Hartford; and Marsha Howard of Miller. The ceremony is at 6 p.m. at the Nordby Exhibit Hall at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.
Curtis died in 2011. He was an Extension Service agent in Edmunds County from 1979 until retiring in 2007.
“He did a lot for 4-H,” said his widow Carole Curtis in a recent phone interview. “It’s a well-deserved honor.”
She said her husband wanted to see kids get involved in 4-H and specifically enjoyed teaching kids about livestock, shooting sports and sport fishing.
“He, in particular, taught tackle crafting and fly fishing,” Curtis said.
She said her husband would also let 4-H youth keep their livestock at the Curtis farm.
“We’d let kids have their animals out there so kids in town could do 4-H,” she said. “We just provided the space. They have to learn the responsibility of caring for them daily and making that a priority.”
Kanable joins her husband James, who was a 2014 inductee into the 4-H Volunteer Hall of Fame.
“It’s an honor and it’s very special,” Elaine Kanable said. “I was a 4-H’er in Wisconsin. When Jim became a 4-H agent, it was all about 4-H.”
James Kanable was Extension agent for Campbell County from 1974 to 2001. During that time, Elaine Kanable was a 4-H club leader and then a volunteer filling in when needed.
Lona Mickelson, former administrative assistant for Campbell County 4-H, said Kanable is a dedicated volunteer.
“I was in that position for about a year, and she helped me with everything,” Mickelson said.
Kanable has been a club leader for almost 43 years, said Mickelson, who credits the Kanables with keeping 4-H going locally.
“It dwindled down to where there weren’t many kids at all and they worked to get more interest,” Mickelson said.
Mickelson said James and Elaine Kanable are active volunteers who help to set up events and even raise money when they see a need — like for a replacement livestock scale.
“They went out and did fundraising for a couple years in Walworth and Campbell (counties). They got a grant and made sure we got a new scale for animals so the kids could stay in the program,” Mickelson said.
McPherson County 4-H advisor Jackie Rau, who is also the daughter of Elaine and James Kanable, said she’s been working to get her mom inducted since her dad was honored.
“I didn’t realize at that time you could nominate as a couple,” Rau said.
She said her mom steps in and helps even in McPherson County.
“They took exhibits to the (state) fair yesterday,” Rau said.
Her parents also set up 4-H Achievement Days in Campbell County, help in Edmunds County and sponsor trophies in McPherson and Campbell counties. Elaine Kanable also led the committee searches for a new local 4-H advisor for Campbell and Walworth counties.
“4-H is in our blood,” Rau said.
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