Heart of 4-H Award Winners 2005

Kelly and Colleen Warner

January. Kelly and Colleen Warner. Kelly and Colleen have been active in the Ropes & Riggins 4-H horse club for six years, beginning when their daughter joined 4-H. They have been getting more involved in 4-H each year. Currently their children Gabby and Shawn are both members of Ropes & Riggins.

Colleen is president of the Salt Creek Wranglers Saddle Club (Kelly is a board member). Last year, the group looked into additional ways of using their arena grounds and decided to host the 4-H Silver Dollar Series. Response was so great, the series will be repeated in 2005 and the Salt Creek Wranglers may offer several clinics for youth and adults.

"At 4-H horse shows, if you need anything, you can always count on both of them to help out," said 4-H staff member Marty Cruickshank. She noted that Kelly did the work of 10 people at the Silver Dollar Series, working up the arena, setting up jumps and trail obstacles, manning the gates and being ring steward. Colleen says she likes being a 4-H volunteer because she didn't have the opportunity to participate in 4-H while growing up, as Kelly did. They both enjoy seeing 4-H members improve their riding skills.

The Warners also volunteer at the Lancaster County Fair Open Class Horse show, the Capital City Horse and Pony Club, their church and at their children's school activities. Something many people might not know about the Warners is they started dating when Kelly was 16 and Coleen was 15!

Leah Spencer

February. Leah Spencer. Leah was co-leader of the Sunshine Clover Kitties 4-H club since her oldest daughter became involved in 4-H seven years ago. The club is now known as the Extreme Green 4-H club and Leah is the organizational leader. She regularly volunteers for Style Revue and 4-H snack booth at the County Fair. She also volunteers at the Nebraska State Fair 4-H Discovery Center.

"Leah has gone the extra mile with wildlife education and makes the meetings fun," says 4-H parent Denise Farley, who nominated Leah. "She is well researched and well prepared. She provides some unique learning experiences that tie learning to careers and hobbies."

A former 4-H member in Dakota County, Leah says, "I like being a 4-H volunteer because I remember the fun and learning experiences as a 4-H member. It's great to see the kids improve their skills and recognize their own accomplishments."

Leah lives in Lincoln with husband John and children Hannah, Abbey and Cole. She also volunteers at Beattie Elementary School (in media) and Trinity United Methodist Church (in Sunday school, youth class and Foodnet).

Shelly Everett

March. Shelly Everett. Shelly has been the organizational leader of The Malcolm Clovers 4-H club for four years.

Michelle Bice (a 4-H parent) and The Malcolm Clovers nominated Shelly, saying, "Shelly has encouraged each member to participate in the county fair and has gone out of her way to help anyone who needed it. Shelly has been an inspiration to my daughter as well as others. She has also seen to it that all the girls have had the opportunity to be an officer and know how to successfully run that office."

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because I love working with young children," says Shelly. "Our group has learned so much through the years and they really enjoy showing their projects off at the county fair. I remember that 'fun' when I was in 4-H in Clay County. I also love working along side such wonderful parents as my project leaders for our club."

In addition to volunteering for 4-H, Shelly is also in the Malcolm Parent/Teacher Organization, coaches her daughters' soccer and volleyball teams, and helps with C.C.D. classes at Saints Mary & Joseph in Valparaiso. She lives in Malcolm with her husband Craig and daughters Payton and Maddy.

Cathy Hurdle

April. Cathy Hurdle. Cathy has been a 4-H volunteer for 10 years, serving in many capacities: organizational leader (Carpe Diem 4-H club), project leader (Teddy Grahams and Star City Kids clubs), Clover College instructor (Fun Sun Pinata, Pizza for You), judge (record books), co-superintendent (County Fair 4-H Table Setting Contest) and fundraising co-chair (Citizenship Washington Focus '08 group). She has also assisted with Teen Council, County Fair setup, County Fair 4-H Food Booth, Kiwanis Karnival and other activities.

Her favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer was working with the Star City Kids in preparing for the Music Contest. "It was fun watching the kids grow closer together and become confident in their abilities to succeed in the contest," she says.

Cathy also volunteers for, and is current president, of the Heartland Home Schoolers. She lives in Lincoln with her husband Jim -- four of their six children are current 4-H members.

Denise Farley

May. Denise Farley. Denise has been involved in 4-H since her daughter joined 10 years ago. Denise is organizational leader of Star City Explorers 4-H club (her husband, Quentin, is co-leader). She has assisted as a parent and volunteer with the Creative Clovers, Extreme Green and Shooting Sports 4-H clubs, and the Citizenship Washington Focus group. Denise has also assisted with Clover College (as co-presenter), Kiwanis Karnival, Lancaster County Fair (in the 4-H food booth) and Nebraska State Fair (as a 4-H judging assistant). A member of the Nebraska 4-H state marketing committee, Denise helped develop the 4-H/Library partnership.

"I like to see kids learn and experience new skills," she says. "I am a strong believer in exposing youth to as many career experiences as possible. I think 4-H can really prepare youth for life by teaching life skills and leadership, as well as creating a desire for life-long learning."

Denise lives in Lincoln with Quentin and their two children, Grace and Spencer. She also volunteers for Messiah Lutheran Church and School, the Lincoln Iris Society, and for many years has co-sponsored a toy benefit for Friendship home.

Many people might not know Denise was 4-H Queen in Keith County. Her mother and grandmother were also 4-H leaders.

Donna Bundy

June. Donna Bundy. Eleven years ago, Donna's niece was a member of the Rompin' Rover's 4-H dog club. Donna came along to the meetings and decided to volunteer as a project leader. A few years later, the club disbanded and Donna started the Canine Companions club (which is still going strong today) as organizational leader. The past several years, she has been the Lancaster County Fair superintendent of the 4-H Dog Show.

"I like working with the kids and dogs," says Donna, who trains weekly with her 4-H club members. She also likes watching the youth grow.

"The 4-H dog program in Lancaster County would not exist without Donna's leadership and extensive knowledge," says 4-H staff Deanna Karmazin.

Donna lives in Lincoln and is an active member of the Greater Lincoln Obedience Club (GLOC). She takes her dog, Tye, all over the world to compete in agility and obedience shows.

Dick Hollman

July. Dick Hollman. A former 4-H member, Dick started volunteering as a beef project leader for the Lone Star club at age 19. He has been a project leader with the club for 28 of the past 30 years. Usually he teaches about beef cattle, but members have also had horse projects.

He was nominated for the Heart of 4-H award by members of the Lone Star club, who wrote, "Dick has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cattle and is always willing to answer anyone's question and help them with their animal. We appreciate everything Dick has done for our club. He makes showing cattle fun!""I like being a 4-H volunteer because it allows me to see young 4-H'ers grow in knowledge, confidence and ability with their projects," said Dick. "I especially enjoy each time I see 4-H'ers achieve a new goal, whether it be clipping their own calf or winning a ribbon or trophy in the show ring."Dick lives in Hallam with his wife. Their four daughters have all shown cattle and horses in 4-H. He is a former school board member for School District 158 and has been active in the Nebraska Frontier Scouts Horse Club, Kramer Rodeo Club and the Nebraska Angus Association. He favorite ways to relax include checking cows, horseback riding, fishing and golfing.

Myron and Barb Smith

August. Myron and Barb Smith . Barb has been a 4-H volunteer for nine years and Myron for four years. When their son Nathan joined 4-H in 1996, Barb organized and led the Middle Creek Munchkins 4-H club (now known as Creative Clovers). Myron has assisted as a project leader. Three years ago, the couple started a second club, Classic Cars R Us (Myron is organizational leader and Barb is assistant leader). Both have volunteered at the 4-H food booth at county fair, and presented Clover College classes (including "Antique Autos" and "Mousetrap Cars"). Barb has also helped with 4-H workshops presented at Lincoln City Libraries. "We like being 4-H volunteers because it helps youth expand their interests and skills," said Barb. She adds, "My favorite experience is our traditional end of 4-H year achievement celebration with Creative Clovers. We have a family bicycle ride on one of the area trails." Myron's favorite experience, is developing automotive-related activities for the Classic Cars R Us club.

Myron and Barb also volunteer for several other organizations, including: Boy Scout Troop 290-Milford, Zion Lutheran, Milford Fine Arts Boosters, Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), AACA's CHIP youth program and several local antique car clubs.

John and Lori Bruss

September. John and Lori Bruss. John and Lori have been co-leaders of the Happy Go Lucky club, the largest 4-H club in Lancaster County (currently with 52 members), for three years. Prior to that, they were parent volunteers. They are also active on the Livestock VIPS Committee.

Happy Go Lucky is mainly a livestock club, but in the past few years members increasely participated in food, horticulture and poultry projects. The club holds a annual club livestock show prior to the county fair to give members practice showing animals. As a community service project, the club has adopted a section of Highway 43 near Bennet to pick up litter.

4-H staff member Deanna Karmazin says, "They bring a lot of enthusiam and energy to the livestock program. Because of their willingness and hard work ethic, the recent leadership transition of the Happy Go Lucky club went smoothly."

"We like being 4-H volunteers because it is rewarding to see the kids show and exhibit there projects with pride and enthusiasm," said Lori. "It is a great feeling to think that we have made a difference."

Married for 24 years, the couple has three children who are current or alumni 4-H members. John has been a volunteer fireman with the Bennet Rural Fire District for 26 years and Lori helps coach volleyball. Each have full time jobs and farm part-time.

Karen Rutt

October. Karen Rutt. Karen was nominated for the award by Jo Fujan who said, "Karen has been a strong supporter of 4-H in Lancaster County for many years. She truly exhibits the "heart of 4-H."

Karen has volunteered for Lancaster County 4-H in many capacities over the past 12 years: Organizational leader of the Fantastic 4-H Club for five years | 4-H Council member and treasurer for six years, serving on food booth and budget committees. | Co-superintendent of Clothing areas at County Fair | Co-superintendent of Table Setting Contest at County Fair | Co-superintendent of Style Revue Contest at County Fair | Helped with 4-H Teen Council and annual Teen Dance | Sponsor on 2005 Citizenship Washington Focus trip to D.C.

In addition, Karen has volunteered in the 4-H areas at the Nebraska State Fair for seven years. "I like being a 4-H volunteer because I get to work with children of all ages and I get to work with other great volunteers," said Karen. "My favorite experience is seeing the faces of the children when they talk to the judges or just showing off what they made to their friends and family. I also enjoy seeing kids from different schools all becoming friends."

Karen lives in Lincoln with her husband Robert. Their daughters, Jami and Jaci, are 4-H alumni (Jami was a 4-H intern this summer). Karen grew up in a 4-H family in Scottsbluff showing sheep, hogs, beef, clothing, food and craft projects. Her parents were 4-H leaders and served on 4-H Council and local Fair Board.

Sandi Kroll

November. Sandi Kroll. Eight years ago, Sandi helped found Star City Kids, which has become one of the largest 4-H clubs in Lancaster County. Sandi is organizational leader and has helped teach many classes and club projects.

Sandi was nominated for the Heart of 4-H Award by Susan Frobish, a project leader for Star City Kids, saying, "Sandi helped start Star City Kids and has been active for many years. She is very enthusiastic."

"I love seeing the children grow and learn new things and skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives," says Sandi. "I also enjoy watching the kids grow up and seeing the friendships develop and grow from year to year. I also enjoy learning from the other moms and watching them teach classes. We have always had an outstanding group of moms working with our kids."

Sandi lives in Lincoln with husband Nathan and their three children. Jacob, Emily and Sarah are all members of Star City Kids. Sandi homeschools the two youngest. She is also on the leadership team of a homeschool support group and teaches a 6th-grade girls class at her church.

Kirk Gunnerson

December. Kirk Gunnerson. Kirk has volunteered for 4-H for 2-1/2 years. He currently serves on 4-H Council and Rabbit VIPS Committee. He is also the leader for BB/Air rifle portion of the Lancaster Shooting Sports program.

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because it allows me to continue working with my kids in a setting outside of school," says Kirk. "My favorite experiences have been putting on the County Fair Shooting Sports contest, my involvement with 4-H Council, and helping get other individuals involved as volunteers."

"Even though Kirk is a relatively new volunteer, he has taken a leadership role in many 4-H duties," says 4-H staff member Tracy Kulm. "He has stepped up and is willing to go the extra mile."

Kirk lives in Lincoln with his wife Brandy and their children Koral, Miranda and Bailee, who are all members of 4-H. He also volunteers with the National Wild Turkey Federation as the Crete Chapter President and with Ducks Unlimited as Lancaster County Chapter Treasurer.

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

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