Six individuals were inducted into the 4-H Volunteer Hall of Fame September 3, 2017 during the South Dakota State Fair.
These six individuals have all put in at least 25-plus years of service to the 4-H youth of South Dakota.
“It was an honor to inductee these people into the hall of fame. All the inductees are all still actively involved in their county 4-H programs and are great supporters of South Dakota 4-H,” said Audrey Rider, SDSU Extension volunteer development field specialist.
The six inductees include; Marsha Howard, Hand County; Elaine Kanable, Campbell County; Gerald (Jerry) and Carmen Grace, Minnehaha County; Dianne Thyen, Hamlin County and Dale Curtis, Edmunds County (posthumously).
More about the inductees
Marsha Howard has been actively volunteering in Hand County 4-H for the past 46 years.
Howard started as a 4-H club leader in 1971 when she reinstated the Hand-E-Hands 4-H Club with an 8-year-old club president and several new members.
She has been the club’s leader for the past 46 years and is very proud of all the community service projects, judging, demonstrations, fashion revue and all of the completed 4-H record books her club has been involved in.
The Hand-E-Hands 4-H Club has excelled over the past four decades.
Not only is Howard a club leader, but she is active in the Hand County 4-H Leaders Association, helping organize the County Achievement Days, the Special Foods Contests and the Fashion Revue judging and style show.
Howard has also held many officer positions within the Leaders Association. She has served as a judge for 4-H youth exhibits in other counties and at the State Fair. She has judged Special Foods and static exhibits in Faulk, Hand, Hyde, Spink Counties and Foods and Nutrition posters at the State Fair.
Howard and her family had a large garden for many years and sold some of the produce to the local community. This spurred the inspiration for Howard to help coordinate the start of the Miller Community Farmers Market held Friday afternoons throughout summer as one location where local producers and vendors can sell goods to the local community.
Howard is a farm wife and mother. She has been married to her husband, Terry, for 47 years. They have three children, Lorelle, Rachelle and Chris.
Howard is active in the Master Gardeners Club and the Miller United Methodist Church.
Elaine Kanable is a very active Campbell County 4-H volunteer.
She and her husband, Jim, raised five children who were also very involved with 4-H. Kanable was a club leader and involved with the Leader’s Association.
Even after her children graduated, she remained dedicated to 4-H. She helped organize Achievement Days, was involved in the set up/take down and helped and supply lunch. She volunteered to take county exhibits to the State Fair and to set up the booth to display the exhibits.
Kanable has helped judge locally as well as served as a judge in other counties. She is still involved.
Kanable is the current treasurer for the Leaders Association and workers with the Extension homemakers to make pillow case dresses for Haiti children.
“Elaine is a huge advocate of 4-H. She has attended many county commission meetings championing 4-H and its importance to the youth of South Dakota. Elaine is the backbone of our Campbell County 4-H. Without her, 4-H would not have survived in our community,” said one Campbell County 4-H supporter.
When asked to share a special 4-H memory, Kanable said, “All the 4-Hers and their families are the special memories.”
Gerald (Jerry) and Carmen Grace have been an instrumental help in the 4-H program of Minnehaha County over the last several decades. Sharing both their time and talents, the Minnehaha County 4-H program has depended on them as a cornerstone in many areas.
Jerry and Carmen have always been willing to volunteer to ensure that the 4-H program in the county is always running with its best foot forward.
Jerry grew up in the county and was involved in the 4-H program. Over the years he transitioned from being a member to serving as a club leader. For many decades, Jerry has assisted with running events in the county; from serving as a livestock superintendent, to announcing shows, servings on various committees and volunteering for various activities.
The couple have served as Club Leaders to the Minnehaha Hot Rods 4-H Club since the club was established.
Carmen also has been instrumental in the success of the 4-H program in Minnehaha County. She has served as the Roping Event Coordinator in the county.
Under her watchful eye, the roping event has become one that is very well run and a highlight to all youth involved.
“Jerry and Carmen have been a wonderful part of our 4-H program,” said Amanda Healy, a Minnehaha County 4-H volunteer and parent. “When I was younger, Jerry helped out with the cattle show and over the years, he has gotten more involved.”
Jerry broadened his commitment to the program by also helping with rodeo events. He is a positive influence for the youth involved.
Currently, the couple shows no signs of slowing down. They continue to assist with 4-H programming and plan to continue as their 13 grandchildren are involved in 4-H as well.
Dianne Thyen has been a 4-H Leader in Hamlin County for 29 years. Before that, she helped her husband, Ronald, with the Oxford Korner 4-H Club as a volunteer for eight years.
Thyen has served as a judge at many County 4-H Achievement Days and at the State Fair.
Thyen is willing to put on workshops for posters, foods and other project areas in Hamlin County and in surrounding Counties.
Their 4-H Club has made bibs for veterans at the Veterans Hospital along with other community service projects.
Thyen volunteered as the lunch stand manager in 2016 and helped plan Achievement Day meals in Hamlin County.
She has volunteered at many 4-H barbecues and chaperoned dances at the State Fair. She has served as President of the Hamlin County 4-H Leaders Association and has also served as the South Dakota 4-H Leaders Association President.
Thyen has helped judge 4-H record books on the County and State level for many years. She is a strong advocate for 4-H not only in Hamlin County, but for the whole State of South Dakota.
A special 4-H memory Thyen shared includes chaperoning 90 4-H members in two bus loads to and around Washington D.C. for the Citizen Washington Focus trip.
Dale Curtis started his career in SDSU Extension in 1977.
His first week of work was spent at North Central 4-H Camp leading young 4-H members.
After his retirement in 2006, Curtis continued to support and lead 4-H members until he lost his hard fought battle with cancer in 2011.
Curtis was a one-of-a kind man who helped start many programs within 4-H such as the State Sport Fishing program. Within Edmunds County, Curtis along with his wife Carole, started the County Shooting Sports Program which has grown to over 50 members.
He was also very involved in photography judging and livestock judging with oral reasons. He was the coordinator for state livestock and horse judging.
In the community, he was very active in the Development Corporation. He also taught the hunter safety course for many years. Curtis was a behind-the-scenes man who was willing to help anyone or do anything that was needed without recognition.
4-H members remember Curtis as a person of love and devotion. He supported every 4-H member and wanted them to have endless opportunities. He made every child feel special in any project area they chose.
“My children had a first-hand experience with his generosity,” said Scott Kilber, a 4-H parent and leader. “When we moved back home to Ipswich my two girls wanted to join 4-H and show sheep. They had mentioned this to Dale and soon after, Dale was overjoyed to offer his farm space to them to raise their 4-H livestock.”
Curtis’ wife, Carole Curtis received the award in his honor.