Charles Hebert, Schultz, Bruce | 5/18/2005 2:01:29 AM
Even though 4-H’er Megan Cormier of Carencro now is in a hall of fame, she’s not sitting back to count her laurels.
Cormier recently was inducted into the United Way of Acadiana Volunteers Hall of Fame, but she was almost immediately working on another volunteer project.
"Right now, we’re working on a wellness fair," Cormier said of the event that was held this past weekend (May 14) at the Abbeville National Guard Armory.
The wellness fair focused on helping area military families with loved ones in Iraq learn about staying healthy, especially in stressful times, Cormier said. It featured health and stress management programs for the entire family, and 4-H members from Lafayette and Vermilion parishes presented interactive lessons on health, food, fitness and other topics.
The fair also included the Louisiana Body Walk exhibit – a cooperative venture between the LSU AgCenter and a subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. That interactive exhibit contains learning stations for each of the major organs of the human body where students explore activities focused on the effects that different foods have on each organ.
Saturday’s events weren’t the first time Cormier had worked on a project designed to help military families. Last year, she helped organize a picnic and fair for families of the Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade and the local U.S. Marine Corps TOW Platoon. The event was held on "Make A Difference Day."
It was Megan’s work on that project that persuaded the United Way of Acadiana to include her among a dozen Hall of Fame inductees this year.
For Dr. Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor of extension, Megan’s recognition is one more example of the impact 4-H can have on communities and individuals.
"In case after case we hear of clear evidence of how our 4-H programs help Louisiana youth develop real character-building and life-building skills so critical to building the next generation of leaders across the state," he said.
Coreil said he was pleased, but not surprised, with Megan’s honor.
"Young people like Megan represent the tangible impacts of what 4-H can accomplish in a local community," Coreil said. "We applaud her well-deserved recognition and take pride in her success. She is indeed a true example of how we ‘make the best better’ through 4-H."
Megan, 18, is a senior at Carencro High School and a 4-H junior leader. She plans to major in agriculture education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Despite what she’s done, Cormier said she was caught off guard by the award.
"I didn’t get the letter until the day before the event," she said.
Charles Hebert, LSU AgCenter county agent for 4-H in Lafayette Parish, said Cormier seized the initiative.
"Megan just took the charge," he said. "She is a very quiet individual, but when she sees a need, she will pull herself together and do what needs to get done."
Cormier also organized a community service learning project at Kingsley Place retirement home – with year-round activities conducted by the Lafayette 4-H Junior Leadership Club, Hebert said.
As for examples of the scope of Cormier’s volunteer activities, a total of more than 200 military family members attended the event this past fall, including almost 100 kids, Hebert said.
Megan said she put about 30 hours of work in two months of organizing and fund raising for that event. But she described the event as a gesture of reassurance for the families.
"It was just to reassure them that there were people in the community willing to help them out," she said.
The event held at the Lafayette National Guard Armory featured a cookout, games and door prizes. Hebert said Cormier spearheaded a fund-raising campaign and raised almost $1,500 in cash and in-kind contributions for that event.
The 256th asked the United Way of Acadiana to get involved with an event to honor their families.
"It was not Megan’s idea, but she carried the torch," Hebert said.
Dana Brignac, director of the Acadiana United Way Volunteer Center, said she saw Cormier in action at the meetings for the event.
"I was so impressed with the skills she has learned through the 4-H program and the leadership program," Brignac said. "She really set herself apart. She had input and suggestions. I was really impressed to see a senior in high school have that kind of comfort level."
Brignac said another inductee among the 12 chosen for the Hall of Fame was Ethel Adcock of Youngsville, a member of the local 4-H Foundation and president of the Lafayette Volunteers for Family and Community, another LSU AgCenter-sponsored group that helps adults develop their leadership skills and find ways to serve their communities.
Among her accomplishments has been acquiring a grant for the Grief Center, a newly formed organization to help children cope with the death of a loved one.