4-H Foundation Recognizes Long-term Advocates at Annual Meeting

The 4-H Foundation of New Hampshire recognized long-term advocates and supporters of New Hampshire 4-H with the highest awards given by the Foundation at its annual meeting, held on Nov. 17 at the Grappone Center in Concord. More than 130 supporters, 4-H volunteers and alumni attended the event, held in conjunction with the 4-H Volunteer Conference.

John Porter received the Friend of 4-H award, while Sarah Gardner was the recipient of the New Hampshire 4-H Alumni award. Major Waldron’s Sportsmen Association took home the Friend of 4-H Business award.

John Porter receives the Friend of 4-H Award

In presenting Porter with his award, Foundation vice chair Todd Hammond told the crowd that Porter’s career has spanned more than 36 years, in which time he developed “a reputation as one of the most knowledgeable, personable and hardworking dairy specialists in New Hampshire.”

During his time at Extension, Hammond added, Porter “was heavily involved with the 4-H program, serving as a volunteer for countless 4-H dairy programs, as a judge for numerous 4-H showings both in New Hampshire and the Big E. He has served as a board member for the Foundation, and over the years, his philanthropy has helped the Foundation ensure that today’s 4-H programs remain vibrant and strong.”

Hammond also presented the Friend of 4-H Business award, recognizing an organization that has been a supporter of 4-H for more than 20 years. Hammond said, “The late Woody Wagner, a 4-H Shooting Sports legend and likely the first member of this organization, became involved in 4-H. Not long after, the Major Waldron’s Sportsmen Association started hosting the Projectiles 4-H Club.”

A representative from Major Waldron's Sportsmen Association receives the Friend of 4-H Business Award

He added, “The Major Waldron’s Sportsmen Association has been tremendously supportive by allowing 4-H to use its facilities, supply secure space to store our equipment, and by providing much needed supplies for the 4-H Shooting Sports Program. Over the years, dozens of adult leaders from this organization have been certified as New Hampshire 4-H Shooting Sports instructors.”

In addition, the association has supported the 4-H Teen Conference for close to 20 years and always recruits a large group of talented and enthusiastic volunteers to run all of the ranges for the day. This workshop has proven to be so popular with the 4-H teens that it’s become a veritable Teen Conference institution.

Sarah Gardner, this year’s recipient of the 4-H Alumni award, is a very active volunteer leader in Merrimack County. She grew up a 4-H-er, with her mother as a club leader. She has since assumed leadership of the club.

Sarah Gardner receives the 4-H Alumni Award

In presenting the alumni award to Gardner, Youth and Family program leader Michael Young talked about her involvement in the 4-H dog projects. Gardner is the key volunteer in the New Hampshire All About the Dogs weekend, as well as the Fun Match Dog Show. She serves as the head dog project chaperone at the Eastern States Exposition. Professionally, Gardner is a veterinary technician, readily sharing her knowledge with youth to improve biosecurity at animal events, and to help 4-H-ers learn about animal health.

Young noted what one person wrote about Gardner’s efforts: “Sarah always has a smile and a reassuring word for a nervous 4-H-er. She maintains her calm demeanor throughout even the most chaotic events, setting the tone for others to follow. She never says no to a request for help, bringing high energy and depth of knowledge to her volunteer work.”

Recognized for their years of service as 4-H volunteers were Nancy Rexford, 50 years; Letty Barton, 40 years; Joann Brandt, 35 years; and Jean Ann St. Pierre, 25 years of service.

Those in attendance also heard from Regina Smick-Attisano, Foundation board chair; Jim Doyle, Foundation executive director; and Kate Guerdat, Extension associate professor and 4-H youth specialist.