12 new members named to 4-H Hall of Fame

Bruce Schultz  |  5/9/2016 7:35:07 PM

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The 2016 honorees chosen for the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame were recognized April 30. Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture, fourth from the right, top row, said the 4-H program’s success can be attributed to the efforts of 4-H leaders and volunteers. From left to right, top row, are Blair Hebert receiving the award for Ernest Freyou, of Iberia Parish; John Lee, of Lincoln Parish; Andrew Montgomery for his grandfather, the late Andy Loftus, of DeSoto Parish; Kay Stough, of Caddo Parish; Richardson; Gerald Wood, of St. James Parish; Michael Dartez, of Vermilion Parish; and Paul Coreil. Bottom row, Jessica Fontenot, daughter of the late Ted Johnson; Catherine Yvonne Normand, of St. Landry Parish; Pat Evans, of Morehouse Parish; Sara Seals, of Baton Rouge; and Rita Marceaux, of Vermilion Parish.

(05/03/16) MANSURA, La. – A dozen honorees were inducted into the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame on April 30.

One of the honorees, Andy Loftus, of DeSoto Parish, passed away just days before the ceremony. His grandson, Andrew Montgomery, attended the ceremony to represent Loftus.

Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture, said Louisiana 4-H is the envy of many other states.

“We have one of the best 4-H programs in the country,” he said. “It is one of the crown jewels of what we do in agriculture in the state.”

Mark Tassin, LSU AgCenter 4-H program leader, said the Hall of Fame distinction signifies the work devoted to 4-H. “You have to have the passion to give up your time and energy.”

Since the Hall of Fame started in 2008, 193 individuals have been inducted.

Paul Coreil, former LSU vice chancellor for extension, was one of this year’s honorees. He said many parishes are struggling with minimal staffs in the wake of severe state budget problems. “This is really a critical time for 4-H. We really can’t afford to let that be damaged.”

Another selection, Pat Evans, of Morehouse Parish, said she recalls the appreciative children she helped during difficult times. “Those are the kids you remember.”

Judia Lacombe, a 2015 Hall of Fame honoree from Acadia Parish, spoke about the late Ted Johnson’s work as 4-H agent in Acadia Parish. “He had a way of making the better best.”

He was represented by his daughter, Jessica Fontenot.

John Lee, of Lincoln Parish, said he worked with many talented youths. “This has to be a highlight in my career. 4-H has and always will have a special place in my heart.”

Catherine Yvonne Normand said 4-H changed her life when she attended 4-H Short Course, now called 4-H University. “4-H has been a trend setter and a pacemaker for so many of us.”

Sara Seals said she cherishes her memories as a chaperone for 4-H trips. “I got to do what I love to do.”

Those honored were:

– Paul Coreil, of Baton Rouge, has played a major role in Louisiana 4-H for 34 years, from 4-H agent to the director of extension. He worked to establish conservation programs like Marsh Maneuvers, which has benefitted hundreds of 4-H members. Even after retirement, his leadership of the Louisiana 4-H Foundation Squirrel Hunt has been responsible for raising thousands of dollars to benefit 4-H environmental programs.

– Michael Dartez, of Vermilion Parish, has played a major role in 4-H for 18 years. He has served as a 4-H Club leader, 4-H activity leader and a Master Horseman 4-H volunteer. He has received many awards for his work, including the State 4-H Horse Leader Award, 2008 Honoree at the Vermilion Parish 4-H Achievement Day, as well as the 15-year service pin.

– Pat Evans, of Morehouse Parish, has been a 4-H supporter for more than 41 years. She helped train three national poultry ambassadors. She chaperoned at 4-H camp, Short Course and the Junior Leadership Conference. She trained many winning teams and attended many competitions. She has been honored as Morehouse Parish Leader of the Year, and she was chosen for the Outstanding Service Award.

– Ernest Freyou, of Iberia Parish, has been a 4-H member and volunteer for more than 55 years. He has served on the Iberia 4-H Foundation since it was established in 1994, and he helped establish checking and accounting procedures. He helped start the 4-H Foundation Golf Tournament, which raised more than $50,000 over 15 years, and he helped develop the Sugarcane Festival 4-H Livestock Show and Sale, which generated more than $150,000.

– Ted Johnson, now deceased, was involved with Acadia Parish’s 4-H program for 25 years before his retirement. During that time, he served as a 4-H extension agent and volunteer. He earned several honors. Johnson helped the Acadia 4-H Program earn the Nolan Reech Award. He encouraged many 4-H members to put in the extra effort to make it to the national level. Because of his efforts, more than 350 of 4-H members participated in a wide variety of national events.

– John Lee, of Lincoln Parish, has worked with the 4-H Youth Development Program for more than 56 years. He got his start as a 4-H Club organizational leader for more than 30 years until his retirement. After retirement, Lee continued to work with 4-H as a volunteer. He was recognized as Lincoln Parish Outstanding Leader.

– The late Andy Loftus was a DeSoto Parish 4-H member and 4-H volunteer for more than 47 years. Throughout his time as a 4-H volunteer, he served on the Ark-La-Tex Council, including a term as president. Under his leadership, the council raised more than $3.1 million for 4-H, with more than $95,000 in scholarships. Loftus has been recognized for 50 years of service in the agriculture industry in northwest Louisiana by the Louisiana Bankers Association.

– Rita Marceaux, of Vermilion Parish, has worked with the 4-H program for more than 36 years. She has been a dedicated volunteer and has helped with many 4-H activities including shopping for supplies, training junior leaders and managing concessions stands. She has received many awards, including the Good Provider Award and the Outstanding 4-H Alumni Award. She has been recognized for her service for the Vermilion Parish 4-H Achievement Day and the Vermilion Parish Livestock Show.

– Catherine Yvonne Normand, of St. Landry Parish, has been a member of the 4-H community for 36 years, starting in the fourth grade. She has been a 4-H Organizational Club leader and St. Landry Parish 4-H Junior Leadership Club leader. She was honored with the St. Landry Friend of 4-H Award and recognized as a bronze level Louisiana 4-H Master Volunteer.

– Sara Seals, of Baton Rouge, served the Louisiana 4-H Program as the nutrition specialist and nutrition project leader for 18 years. She created and helped develop many contests. She developed the 4-H Food and Fitness Board as well as Food and Fitness Camp. She received multiple awards and recognitions including the Achievement in Service Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the national and Louisiana Associations of Extension 4-H Agents. She received the Distinguished Service Award from Gamma Sigma Delta. At 4-H Short Course she received the 4-H Specialist of the Year.

– Kay Stough, of Caddo Parish, has served the 4-H program for more than 25 years. She was a Caddo Parish school teacher and 4-H club leader for 20 years. She is on the Caddo Parish 4-H Advisory Leadership Council, and she is the executive director of the Ark-La-Tex Ag Council, where she coordinates the scholarship program for graduating seniors.

– Gerald Wood, of St. James Parish, has been an integral part of the 4-H program for more than 65 years. He started as a 4-H member and later became an adult leader and supporter. He held many positions at the parish and state level, including the parish board of directors and St. James Parish 4-H Foundation president. During his career, he started the S.E. Wood Scholarship for students interested in majoring in agriculture at a Louisiana college. In 2007, he was recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the St. James Livestock Parent Group.

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