Heart of 4-H Award Winners 2004

Franklyn Manning

January. Franklyn Manning. Franklyn is very active in the 4-H Horse program.

The Wee Amigos 4-H club nominated Franklyn and wrote, "Because to us Frank is 4-H in life practices. He has worked with 4-H kids and their horses for more than 25 years. Frank loves working with and being around young people and their horses. At the 2003 Lancaster County Fair, Franklyn was there helping out wherever he was needed by being a barn superintendent, organzing the speed events and sponsoring trophies. When we think of role models for our youth we cannot even begin to count the number of lives he has touched, whether it's answering questions, helping out with construction or clean up projects, balancing books, generating ideas, joking with kids or riding himself. 4-H is a better organization and young people have become better adults as a result of Franklyn Manning."

"I enjoy seeing the young people grow up, mature and be good citizens," Franklyn said.

His favorite experience volunteering at the county fair was this year. "In 2003, members of the Horse VIPS committee and 4-H club leaders put on, and pulled off, one of the best horse shows at the county fair since I've been around," he said. Franklyn lives in Lincoln and also volunteers at the American Lutheran Church. His favorite way to relax is working with and riding his horse, Skeeter.

Judy Fitzgerald

February. Judy Fitzgerald. Judy has been involved in the 4-H rabbit program for about 15 years. She is a presenter at many workshops, seminars and clinics for 4-H'ers, 4-H clubs and extension staff. She judges rabbits, static exhibits and showmanship. As a rabbit breeder (her rabbitry is J's Jolly Jumpers), she provides many 4-H'ers with rabbits and extensive information about their care. In addition to her work with Lancaster County 4-H, Judy also helps 4-H in nearby counties.

Judy was nominated by Ken Majors (a member of the Rabbit VIPS committee) and Robert Dresser (a 4-H parent). Said Ken, "Judy is a friend to 4-H'ers. She gives many hours to the 4-H community, always willing to answer questions, seeking out the right bunny, and encouraging the beginners and experienced 4-H'ers in their various projects."

Robert said, "I met Judy when my daughter and I attended a fall rabbit clinic. Judy was most receptive to questions and responded with patience and valuable information. My daughter decided to join 4-H. We contacted Judy for a rabbit and our family visited her rabbitry. Again, she showed rabbits and provided much information. Over the next year, Judy has continued to provide information whenever we have a question about the rabbits."

Judy says, "I love doing workshops. There is something special about each one - answering questions, providing information and giving kids hands-on experiences with rabbits. 4-H is a great way for kids to find out who they are by exploring the world through directed activities. I am very grateful to be able to help youth learn about rabbits and learn to take responsibility for them."

Judy is also involved with the American Rabbit Breeders Association (serving on the membership committee and as chair of the election committee), the Nebraska Tower on the Plains Rabbit Breeders Association (as Secretary/Treasurer) and the Husker Holland Rabbit Club (as Secretary).

She lives in Martell with her husband Jay. Their daughter, Sarah, is a former 4-H'er and rabbit breeder.

Gene Veburg

March. Gene Veburg. Gene has been a 4-H volunteer for 10 years. He is leader and county fair superintendent of the Lancaster County Shooting Sports BB Gun/Pellet Rifle/Pellet Pistol. He is co-leader of the Cool Clovers club with his wife Sharlotte. (Their children, Emily and Michael, are members of both clubs.) Gene is also current president of 4-H Council and represents 4-H on the Lancaster County Extension Board.

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because the results of 4-H Youth development work are lifelong," Gene says. "I like meeting 4-H alums and learning about their lives."

His favorite experience volunteering at the County Fair was moving the fair to the Lancaster Event Center in 2001. He says, "Each years brings more opportunity for a better fair."

He lives in Lincoln and works at the Southeast Nebraska Livestock Market near Palmyra as well as at The Fort Western Catalog in Nebraska City. Gene is a past member of the Lancaster County Ag Society (Fair Board) and past member of the St. Andrews Lutheran's church council.

Gene was a 4-H member in California and raised sheep as a project.

Keith Dey

April. Keith Dey. Keith has been a 4-H volunteer for 11 years as leader of the Flying Hoofs 4-H club, member of the Horse VIPS committee, and superintendent of various horse classes at the Lancaster County Fair. He was overall horse superintendent for three years.

In addition, he was a member of 4-H Council for four years (he just finished his term) and was Council president and 4-H liaison to the Lancaster County Extension Board for three of those years.

"My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer was the chance to work with more than 100 of Lancaster County's finest youth," says Keith. "To help them learn and to learn from them. It's like being a part of a huge family, providing opportunities, teaching, learning and caring."

"My favorite County Fair experiences are the smiles, the tears, the accomplishments, the pride in the parents faces and the Walking Tacos!" he adds.

Keith lives in Hickman with his wife Renay. Their daughter Kaleena is a recent 4-H alum. He relaxes by playing drums, riding his motorcycle and scuba diving.

Lisa Burham

May. Lisa Burham. Lisa has been a project leader for four years with the Star City Kids 4-H Club (the largest club in Lancaster County with 67 members). She teaches photography and wildlife conservation projects, and has helped junior leaders teach woodworking and small engines. Currently she is team teaching a geography class with five other volunteers in the club.

Marie Spomer nominated Lisa, saying "Mrs. Burham is a wonderful teacher. She is always finding some hands-on project to make the project fun."

Lisa says, "I like being a 4-H volunteer because 4-H has been such a great learning experience for me and for my family and it has allowed us to make amazing new friendships. One of my favorite experiences was having the opportunity to help prepare a group of some of the best teens around for the music contest. They worked so hard, putting in long hours, and went on to win purple ribbons at the State contest. What a neat bunch of kids!"

She lives in Roca with husband Mark and four sons (all four are members of Star City Kids). When she was younger, Lisa was a member of the Eager Hands 4-H club in Sidney.

Cheryl Landon

June. Cheryl Landon. Cheryl has been a volunteer with the Rock Creek Ranchers for 20 years. She is currently project leader for beef, bucket calf and livestock judging. She was club leader for four years. Cheryl has been superintendent or assistant superintendent for 4-H Bucket Calf at the Lancaster County Fair since the project started 13 years ago.

4-H'er Amanda Peterson nominated Cheryl, "For the help in being the bucket calf superintendent and the continuous help with the Rock Creek Ranchers. She is always very positive to all of us kids."

Cheryl says, "I enjoy working with young people and see how they sparkle working with their projects. My favorite experience was working with Janice Halling and helping to get the Bucket Calf project off the ground. This project really connected livestock with those on acreages."

In addition to volunteering for 4-H, Cheryl volunteers at the State Fair in the FFA Beef department and keeps scorebook for Waverly High School basketball games.

She is a paraeducator at Waverly High School and lives in Greenwood with her husband Bill. Their children (Andrew, Daniel and Steven) are former members of the Rock Creek Ranchers.

Cheryl says most people might not know that when she was a 4-H member, she was the last person at the Nebraska State Fair to show a grand champion steer which was auctioned off.

Ellen Chapelle

July. Ellen Chapelle. Ellen has been a 4-H volunteer for 35 years. She was a longtime co-leader of the Pioneer Livestock 4-H club with her husband, Gordon. Every spring, the club put on the Pioneer Livestock Show to give new 4-H'ers experience showing their animals in public. Ellen has been active in the 4-H Livestock Booster Club since it started, helping find sponsors for County Fair livestock awards.

"I like watching the kids grow and learn," she says. "And to see how proud they are when they see the rewards -- which are many -- for their hard work."

Ellen and Gordon live north of Denton. They are active members of the Nebraska Polled Hereford Association. Their children David and Debra are former 4-H'ers. Ellen's favorite way to relax is spending time with family and friends--especially her seven year old granddaughter Ty!

Shirley Condon

August. Shirley Condon. Shirley has been a 4-H volunteer for 22 years (and former 4-H'er for 10 years). She is currently co-leader of the Pet Pals 4-H Club and co-superintendent of the Household Pet Show at the Lancaster County Fair. She is a regular presenter at 4-H Clover College and earth wellness festival. Other volunteer duties have included: 4-H Council member, 4-H recruiter, key leader, County Fair 4-H judge, and county & district record-book awards judge. Previous clubs she has been involved with are Number One 4-H Club, Critter Sitters, and Salt Valley Clovers.

"I like working with youth people and animals, and I think 4-H is a wonderful program for teaching life skills while making the learning process fun," says Shirley. "My favorite experience is teaching 4-H'ers new skills and seeing their pride in their accomplishments. I especially enjoy visiting with former 4-H'ers and seeing how they have begun successful careers built in part on the skills they gained in 4-H."

Shirley lives in Lincoln with husband Jim. Their children Micki and Mike are 10-year 4-H alumni. Shirley enjoys putting her 4-H skills to use and enters baking, candy-making, needlework, horticulture and photography exhibits in Open Class at the County and State Fair – she has earned more than 300 ribbons and prizes!

Julie Thomson and James Walla

September. Julie Thomson and James Walla. Julie and James started volunteering for 4-H nine years ago when daughter Terra joined as a Clover Kid.

In 2001 they started The Checkmates 4-H chess club as a pilot Nebraska 4-H project. Since then, they have organized three very successful statewide 4-H chess tournaments.

Julie is leader of the Sunshine Clover Kitties 4-H club. She encourages and leads the club in many community service projects such as participating in Kiwanis Karnival, Adopt-a-Park, Toys-for Tots, food and book drives, collecting Ronald McDonald tabs, recycling newspapers and volunteering for the 4-H Food Booth at the Lancaster County Fair.

They also help at the county fair in other ways: Julie assists with 4-H Style Revue and Horse Shows and Jim is a judge for the 4-H Bicycle Safety Contest.

They both like volunteering because they get to witness the growth of young people in so many areas and use their training and talents to make a positive contribution to the future.

Other activities they are involved with are: Jim is president of the Nebraska State Chess Association; Julie is the librarian for Oak Valley School; and they both volunteer at school events, for the Cornhusker Pony Club and at the Trinity Methodist Church.

Cindy Fiala

October. Cindy Fiala. Cindy has been a 4-H volunteer for more than 10 years: as fundraising chairman for Citizenship Washington Focus group for eight years; sewing project leader for the Clovers & Company club for five years; 4-H Council member for five years (serving on the scholarship, grievance and food booth committees); instructor for Clover College; volunteer for County Fair 4-H clothing areas for several years; and volunteer at 4-H Exhibit Hall during Nebraska State Fair.

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because it brings back many memories of my nine years in 4-H," says Cindy. "I feel very strongly about the impact 4-H has on our youth as they become our leaders of tomorrow."

"My favorite experience was the two years I attended the State 4-H Volunteer Leader Forum. It is so much fun networking ideas with other volunteers from across the state and I came home even more excited about the whole 4-H program," she adds.

Cindy lives in Lincoln with her husband Jerry. She runs her own home-based business, "Cindy's Cakes." Their four daughters were all enrolled in 4-H through their high school years - youngest daughter Alyssa is a current 4-H member and also serves on 4-H Council. In addition to 4-H, Cindy has volunteered also at St. Joseph's church (Holiday Fair) and at Pius X High School (music, theatre and speech events - currently a co-coordinator of the Parent Volunteer Program).

Something most people might not know about Cindy is she is "a real night person" who is most creative after 9 p.m.!

Kala Ball

November. Kala Ball. Kala has been leader of the Young Riders 4-H club for three years, leader of the Wee Amigos club for two years, Horse Judging coach for seven years, Hippology and Horse Bowl coach for three years, County Fair 4-H Horse Judging superintendent for two years, and has coached many speeches and demonstrations.

Four 4-H members and one parent nominated Kala:

  • Frances Anderson said, "I nominate Kala because she has taught me many skills I can use my whole life. She always encourages me and pushes me to be the best that I can be!"
  • Schyler Kerns said, "Kala has helped me become a better rider and really understands me. She is the greatest 4-H leader there ever was or will be."
  • Lindsay Kerns said, "She has been an incredible 4-H leader for the past three years because she really puts her whole heart into the job."
  • Kelli Kerns (4-H parent) said, "She not only has given a tremendous amount of time to them during the 4-H season -- taking vacation days to be with them during shows, etc., but also has encouraged them to try other experiences in 4-H to have a well-rounded experience."
  • Katy Cockerill said, "She is there, encouraging us, at local weekend shows, and 4-H district and state shows. Coming to our school plays and graduation parties, she is more than a leader, she is our close friend and mentor."

"I like being a 4-H volunteer as I have been surrounded with the most amazing 4-H families -- they make all of the time and effort that I put into the clubs seem effortless," Kala says. "Kids will amaze you if you challenge them to learn. They absorb so much knowledge so quickly, it is often a challenge for myself to keep them learning. Lancaster County has some of the brightest horsemen and women in the nation."

She continues, "Coaching judging teams is my passion and has been so much fun in the last seven years! I love working with students teaching more than just basic horsemanship skills. Judging has so many complicated rules and learned subjectivity to master. Oral reasons, while scary at first, become my students' favorite part of the contest. It is one of the only areas that youth can go into a room and tell an adult WHY they have made their decisions. We have had a lot of fun traveling Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas practicing theses skills. The success that we have had in the past is just the icing on the cake. If any of you are around any past members of the teams, talk to them -- you will be amazed at the knowledge and poise that they have gained."

Kala lives in Lincoln and works at Pfizer. Her favorite way to relax is working with her horses and taking dressage lessons at Stewart Equestrian Center.

Jo Fujan

December. Jo Fujan. Jo has held many roles during her nine years as a 4-H volunteer: organizational leader of the Shining Shamrocks 4-H club; project leader for Liberty Bell Laborers club; member of 4-H Council; and County Fair 4-H superintendent in the areas of Clover Kids, Clothing and Life Challenge.

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because it's a great way of working with youth of all ages," says Jo. "My favorite experience volunteering at the County Fair was helping as co-superintendent of clothing and working the Spudfest and concession stand. I always enjoy working with the Clover Kids Show and Tell." Jo lives in Lincoln with her husband, of whom she says, "Bill has been very supportive of my 4-H work -- he was a great help with the first Spudfest!" They have three adult sons and a daughter, Monica, who is currently a 4-H member.

In addition to volunteering for 4-H, Jo is on the Booster Board for Pius X High School, is an active band and theatre parent, is an active member of St. Patrick Parish, volunteers at the Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach, and is a past Cub Scout leader. Her favorite way to relax is baking, reading and "loafing."

See more Heart of 4-H Award Winners

Contact Information

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County
444 Cherrycreek Road, Ste A
Lincoln, NE 68528 | http://lancaster.unl.edu

addthis button

University of Nebraska-Lincoln:

Find more of UNL Extension in Lancaster County on:

  Check out the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County on YouTube  follow the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County on Twitter Become a fan of 4-H Embryology and 4-H EGG Cam on Facebook

...friend us! join us! check out all our social media sites here.