4-H Hall of Fame inducts newest members

Bruce Schultz  |  5/4/2017 3:55:33 PM

(05/04/17) MANSURA, La. – A dozen new members of the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame were recognized Saturday (April 29) for their contributions to the youth of the state 4-H program.

“We are serious about 4-H. It’s important, and a lot of people are starting to realize that,” said Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture.

The 2017 event brings the total number of 4-H Hall of Fame inductees to 205.

4-H is a youth education program operated by Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state land-grant universities and is conducted in Louisiana by the LSU AgCenter.

Many of the inductees said their 4-H connection has been one of the most rewarding endeavors of their lives.

“4-H has been so important to me,” said Joanie Basso, of Ascension Parish. “4-H has just given so many youth so many opportunities.”

Nancy Cronan, of Allen Parish, said she was shocked when she learned of her selection for the Hall of Fame. “I smiled for a week,” she said.

“I think 4-H is one of the best youth development organizations in the world,” Cronan said.

Dr. Jackie Simon, of St. Martin Parish, said 4-H makes a significant impression on youngsters. “It geared me towards my career as a veterinarian.”

Kirk Martin, of Lafayette Parish, said he marvels at seeing youngsters in 4-H mature. “They go on and become fine, great adults,” he said.

Troy Landry Mouton, of Vermilion Parish, said she has seen how 4-H helps children blossom. “4-H has done that for so many kids,” she said.

Janet Fox, LSU AgCenter 4-H youth development department head, said local 4-H agents are a big part of why the program succeeds. “We have the best 4-H agents in the world,” she said.

The 2017 inductees are:

— Troy Landry Mouton, of Vermilion Parish who has served Vermilion Parish 4-H since 2000. She began as organizational leader at Dozier Elementary school and moved on to leadership roles at parish, regional and state levels. Mouton has become a fixture at all major 4-H events in the parish, helping with a wide range of tasks. She conducted an often-cited, multi-year study of the positive impact of 4 H involvement on test scores.

— Trina LaCour, of DeSoto Parish, has been instrumental in establishing the DeSoto Parish 4-H Shooting Sports program. She coaches students in hunting kills and she has produced three national team delegates in three years. Her work with the Junior Leader club helped raise over $500 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in 2015. She was selected as the 2015-2016 Salute to Excellence Volunteer Leader of the Year by the 4-H Volunteer Leader Association.

— Sue Hebert, of Vermilion Parish, has served as an activity volunteer leader since 1985. and since 1989 she has served as a livestock volunteer leader. Hebert worked 25 hours per quarter on various programs to ensure that her former employer, Walmart, matched a donation of $250 to the parish 4-H program, bringing the total Walmart contributions to $4,000.

— Nancy Cronan, of Allen Parish, was a 4-H agent in Calcasieu, Cameron and Allen parishes. She has been a volunteer in all three parishes since she retired. She mentors new agents in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes, works as a club leader in Calcasieu Parish and volunteers in Allen Parish as judge for many contests.

— Kirk Martin, of Lafayette Parish, has spent thousands of hours over the past 25 years assisting youth at the parish, region and state levels. Martin has served as a member of several 4-H livestock committees and has helped develop budget proposals for both the parish and district livestock shows. He helps manage both accounts and oversees about $150,000 of total assets for both shows annually. He has provided leadership in the annual parish livestock sponsorship campaign that helps raise about $2,000 annually to provide awards to the top winner in each class as well as the champions.

— Joanie Basso, of Ascension Parish, has 39 years of experience as a 4-H leader at Dutchtown primary and middle schools. She has spent thousands of hours involving and supporting youth in 4 H activities, organizing and conducting activities and safety events through the school year. Basso has won many outstanding club and leader awards as well as state and national safety awards. Many of her students earned National Safety Congress awards trip and several Achievement Day awards.

— Gloria Miller, of St. Charles Parish, is involved with 4-H on state and national levels. She became a leader of the St. Charles 4-H Fashion Club in 2008, conducting three to four sewing workshops per month. In 2009, she became a St. Charles 4-H Foundation Board member and, later, treasurer. Miller helps with 4-H Junior Leader Club fundraising, has served as an overnight chaperone at 4-H University and has trained several fashion contestants. Miller has won the “Above and Beyond” award from the Louisiana 4-H Volunteer Leaders Association.

— Dr. Robert McManus, of Acadia Parish, was a livestock project leader for more than 20 years. He also was a Louisiana Livestock Sanitary Board member for more than 20 years and its vice chairman for 10 years. He served on the Southwest District Livestock Show Board for 22 years, including president; on the Acadia Parish Livestock Board; and on the Acadia Parish Rice Arena Board. He was the board chairman of the Louisiana 4-H Foundation Board in 1998 and remains a member and contributor. Among his many awards was the state Citation of Outstanding Service to 4-H for 1980-1990.

— Maurice Gipson, of Concordia Parish, has a long list of accomplishments, starting as president of a 4-H Club for five years. He has been on the 4-H Leadership Advisory Council Board, was a youth trustee on the State 4-H Foundation Board and State 4-H Advisory Board, and was 4-H Junior Leadership president. Gipson presented programs to parish youth on character education and spoke in support of 4-H to Louisiana legislators at the State Capitol. He became the first African-American elected as state 4-H president. He was selected to introduce U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell as the speaker for the opening session at National 4-H Conference. Gibson also has been an adult leader on the Concordia Parish 4-H Leadership Advisory Council.

— Dr. Jackie Simon, of St. Martin Parish, has conducted numerous educational sessions for St. Martin Parish youth, including the annual Achievement Day and annual poultry clinics, using hands-on techniques with live birds. Simon provides health certificates at no charge to the livestock exhibitors. She received the Attorney General Livestock Leader Award at the State Livestock Show for her dedication to the St. Martin Parish Livestock Program. She works with youth and parents of new exhibitors to prepare them for the project by making home visits and showing them proper care techniques. She has been a Livestock Advisory Committee member and a 4-H Advisory Committee member since 1998, and a sponsor of the St. Martin Parish Livestock Show for the past 18 years.

— Dan Fontenot, of Pointe Coupee Parish, had a Cooperative Extension career spanning 37 years, from 1955 to 1992. He started as a 4-H agent in Point Coupee Parish and later became an LSU AgCenter state 4-H specialist in 1982. Fontenot was instrumental in introducing an annual exchange program among parishes to meet, learn from, enjoy companionship and extend friendships with members of other parish 4-H Clubs. The $300 Daniel Fontenot Scholarship was established in 1993 to honor him after his retirement, and 22 4-H members across the state have been recognized through this program.

— Barbara Arton, of Iberia Parish, has served in numerous volunteer roles in 4-H. These include school 4-H Club organizational leader, parent volunteer, demonstration volunteer, activity leader, Iberia Parish workshop presenter, founder and leader of the Iberia Parish Food and Fitness Board, overnight chaperone, project leader, 4-H judge, 4-H advocate and 4-H donor. In 1982, 1983 and 1987, Arton received the New Iberia Middle School Outstanding Volunteer Award. She has received many awards, including the Cabot Volunteer Service Award, the 4-H Alumni Orville Redenbacher Sponsor Award, the Louisiana 4-H Volunteer Youth-Adult Partnership Award and the Louisiana Salute to Excellence Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award.

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A number of 2017 inductees into the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame pose for a photo during a recent ceremony. They are, from left, bottom row: Barbara Arton, of Iberia Parish; Tina LaCour, of DeSoto Parish; Kirk Martin, of Lafayette Parish: Dr. Robert McManus, of Acadia Parish; and Nancy Cronan, of Allen Parish. Top row, from left: Bill Richardson, LSU AgCenter vice president for agriculture; Sue Hebert, of Vermilion Parish; Joanie Basso, of Ascension Parish; Gloria Miller, of St. Charles Parish; Dr. Jackie Simon, of St. Martin Parish; and Troy Landry Mouton, of Vermilion Parish. Not pictured are Dan Fontenot, of Pointe Coupee Parish and the state 4-H office, and Maurice Gipson, of Concordia Parish. Photo by Bruce Schultz/LSUAgCenter.

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