4-H Hall of Fame inducts 12 new members

Bruce Schultz  |  5/6/2019 6:55:41 PM

(05/06/19) MANSURA, La. — The Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame has a dozen new members among its ranks after a ceremony on April 27 to recognize the honorees.

The Hall of Fame has inducted 232 members since it started in 2008.

Toby Lepley, LSU AgCenter associate vice president and 4-H program leader, said the work and sacrifices of the 12 honorees are significant.

“The 2019 Hall of Fame class represents over 250 years of service to the 4-H program, with each of these inductees representing countless hours of service and dedication to the youth of our state,” he said. “They serve as role models and mentors for all of us, from AgCenter employees to volunteers to our 4-H members.This 2019 class is truly the picture of leadership and dedication.”

New Hall of Fame member and 4-H leader Claudette Broussard, of Vermilion Parish, said watching 4‑H’ers grow into adults has been rewarding, but she said she also was changed by the program. “4-H has made me the person I am today,” she said.

Burnell Lejeune, of Lafayette Parish, said 4-H prepares youth for adulthood. “The real reward is not getting a plaque. The real reward is that I got to work with 4-H for a better part of my life,” he said.

Annette Matherne, receiving the honor for her late grandfather, A.J. Melancon, of St. Charles Parish, said, “He just loved 4-H. He loved the motto ‘Make the best better.’ ”

Jeannie Rowland, of Lincoln Parish, said her children learned about morality and values in 4-H, and now her daughter is a 4-H leader.

Shannon Sullivan said her late father, John Sullivan, would have been grateful for being inducted into the Hall of Fame. “This would have meant the world to him,” she said.

The 2019 inductees are listed below.

— The late A.J. Melancon Jr. worked as an AgCenter county agent in St. Charles Parish for 25 years and retired in 1971 after devoting 36 years to extension work. As a constant supporter of 4-H livestock programs, he was active in getting the district livestock show moved to Arabie. Often, Melancon financed the dairy and poultry projects for members who could not afford the animals. He was responsible for soliciting money for trips and for getting funds from Shell Oil for the parish 4-H program.

He is also recognized each year at the annual 4-H Achievement Day, with the top three clubs that participate in community service projects recognized in his name by receiving the A.J. Melancon Community Service Award. Additionally, Melancon will be recognized annually as a contributor of the St. Charles Parish A.J. Melancon Memorial Scholarship along with a Louisiana 4-H Foundation scholarship that grants $1,000 to a graduating senior from St. Charles Parish 4-H for continuing education.

— Beverly B. Hains, of Acadia Parish, started working with 4-H in 1971. She has served in various roles in the Acadia Parish 4-H program. She was 4-H school leader at Redemptorist Catholic School for sewing, child development, and food and nutrition. All six of her children participated in 4-H at the same time. She still volunteers as a record book judge. One year, her club had a 98% record book completion.

Hains has volunteered at the 4-H office; held training meetings; helped her husband, John Hains, also in the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame, hold the dairy judging contest at their own residence; assisted at the International Rice Festival Livestock Show; helped with the parish 4-H Electric Clinic; and served as a judge at many Achievement Day contests. In 1979, she won the Good Provider Record contest and in 1981 attended the District Leader Conference.

Along with her husband, Haines won a trip to the National 4-H Congress in Chicago as a leader winner, and they accompanied the 4-H exchange group to Brown County, Wisconsin, to promote the Acadia Exchange Program. Her family also hosted two international 4-H exchange students from Japan.

— Burnell Lejeune, of Lafayette Parish, began his career as a vocational agriculture teacher at Franklin High in 1976. A year later, he transferred to the Lafayette Parish School System, where he continues his dedication to agriculture and career preparation. He has served in the role of assistant principal, principal and instructional supervisor for vocational education.

In July 2000, Lejeune began a new chapter, serving as instructional supervisor for career and technical education, where he oversaw the LSU AgCenter component of the Lafayette School System budget. In 2004, the local contribution of the LSU AgCenter Cooperative Extension Service budget was $30,000, and that has been increased to $100,000.

Lejeune was names the Louisiana 4-H Superintendent of the Year Award in 2015. He has offered stipends to teachers to attend parish leader training. He also served as the Lafayette Parish interim superintendent during the last eight months of his career. Under his leadership, a new cooperative agreement was also approved to increase the local support by $30,000 to hire a third 4-H agent in Lafayette Parish. He has continued to work to increase local support to the AgCenter by more than $100,000 during his career.

— Chris Martin, of East Baton Rouge Parish, was an active 4-H member and a volunteer for more than 35 years. He has been a 4-H Club leader for over six years and has served on several different 4-H advisory committees. He has been on the 4-H Foundation Board for more than 15 years and currently serves as president. For more than 10 years, Martin has been on the livestock show committee and has volunteered his time to photograph the parish shows. He has bought and provided many animals for the youth and worked with them to properly show, groom and feed the animals.

Martin helped start the East Baton Rouge Parish shooting sports program and the bee program. He has been a shooting sports volunteer for more than 10 years. He also helped start the East Feliciana Outdoor Explorer 4-H group and has been advising East Feliciana on their shooting sports and bee programs.

—Lonnie McCray, of Caddo Parish, earned his doctorate from the University of North Texas in 2011 and currently serves as the dean of the Division of Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education at Southern University in Shreveport. As a 4-H member, he served as club and Junior Leader president, was a state Fashion Board member, state ambassador and a National Conference delegate. He continues his passion for 4-H by serving as an advisory leadership council facilitator; a judge for scholarships, talent, bake-off and cookery contests; and as a presenter at the end of year event.

McCray was a 4-H Alumni Award Contest blue ribbon winner in 2012, and he is recognized annually for his volunteer contributions. He also judges the parish 4-H scholarships and has served as a phone judge for state Executive Board applicants. In 2014, he presented at area leader training on 100 Years of Growing Louisiana Leaders.

— Claudette Broussard, of Vermilion Parish, began her involvement in 4-H in 1962 as a 4-H’er. She has served as a valuable volunteer since 1988. She volunteered countless hours and contributed many dollars to help Vermilion Parish 4-H members. When her daughter began as a fourth grader in 1988, she started workshops to help all fourth graders complete their introductory project books. Since then, she has conducted numerous project workshops on the local and parish levels, reaching hundreds of members.

Broussard has trained members to present speeches and demonstrations, transported youth to events, assisted with club fundraisers and written newspaper articles promoting 4-H. She has worked with livestock project members and helped with district show paperwork. She regularly serves as a judge at parish events and has recently become involved with the parish shooting sports program. Throughout the years, she has chaperoned award and educational trips and has served as a judge for state record book contests.

Broussard is now continuing her volunteer efforts with her grandchildren in their 4-H clubs and activities. Currently, she attends all monthly club meetings at Cecil Picard Elementary, where her grandson is the president, and at North Vermilion High School, where her granddaughter is an officer.

— Emile Thibodeaux, of Vermilion Parish, has provided continuous support to Vermilion Parish 4-H livestock and horticulture programs since 1983. In 2008, he helped generate funds for the Vermilion 4-H program’s 100th anniversary celebration by donating a first-edition Danbury Mint 4-H Collection doll to be raffled. In 2016, he sponsored a school gardening and science book project for each of Vermilion Parish’s schools and 4-H Clubs. In 2017, funds were raised to support 20 4-H’ers from Vermilion Parish to attend the presidential inauguration and the Citizenship Washington Focus Program.

Thibodeaux is on the overall parish extension advisory committee and serves as a board member for the Vermilion Parish 4-H Foundation. He has served as a contest judge and volunteer, and he was a 2017 Vermilion Parish 4-H Achievement Day honoree.

— The late Jamey Allemond, of St. Martin Parish, was a dedicated and pivotal adult volunteer in St. Martin Parish, where he was a physical education coach for more than 16 years. He was an active volunteer when his own two children showed rabbits, poultry and goats and participated in a range of other 4-H activities throughout the parish. This spring, the St. Martin Parish livestock program held its first crawfish boil fundraiser, and he obtained the necessary supplies and extra volunteer support for the event.

Allemond served as an adult volunteer at 4-H summer camp for three years and also volunteered at Challenge Camp and LOST camp. In addition to attending camps, he assisted with club meetings at Teche Elementary, where he worked. In 2018, he was awarded the 4-H Spirit Award from the Louisiana 4-H Volunteer Association.

— Jeanie Rowland, of Lincoln Parish, joined 4-H as a fourth grader and has continued to be an active part of the Lincoln Parish program. She has been a parent of two active 4-H members, a school club leader, a Junior Leader Club volunteer leader and an archery instructor. She has volunteered at 4-H summer camp for many years and was an active leader with the parish Junior Leader program.

Rowland and her husband, Devery, built the archery program into a large, active group of 4-H members. Two of the 4-H members she has worked with were able to attend the national competition last year, and one of them received scholarship honors. Her work with the archery program has directly led to an increase in Lincoln Parish Junior Leader Club attendance. She has been recognized in 4-H newsletters and the local newspaper and has been recognized at Lincoln Parish Achievement Day as the parish’s Outstanding Leader.

— The late John S. Sullivan Jr. served as a beef cattle specialist and livestock show manager with the LSU AgCenter from 1966 to 2001. He was credited with several innovative programs, such as the development of a 4-H beef cattle leader’s guide and the production and implementation of computer programs used in livestock shows statewide. He made many individual visits to help others learn computer skills, from data entry to the use of clip art. He judged numerous beef cattle shows and events, conducted educational programs on beef breeding and evaluation, and chaperoned numerous beef awards trips for over 30 years. Under his guidance, 4-H members were afforded opportunities to show livestock in national competitions in Chicago and Louisville, Kentucky. He also served on the 4-H Light Horse Advisory Committee. His contributions have been recognized through the establishment of the John S. Sullivan Livestock Exhibitor awards.

— Melinda Miles has worked for the Winn Parish School Board for 31 years and was voted Winn Parish Teacher of the Year. She is motivated by her love for children and for education. As the Dodson High School Senior 4-H Club leader for the past 21 years, she has also served on the Winn Parish 4-H Advisory Committee for nine years. She is also on the parish 4-H Foundation board and is a member of the 4-H livestock support group. She is a livestock project leader and serves on the Winn Parish Fair board.

Miles is a member of numerous organizations, including the Winn Parish Livestock Club, Louisiana Meat Goat Association and North Louisiana Rabbit Association. She has been recognized as Winn Parish Outstanding Club Leader numerous times. Under her direction, the Dodson High School Senior 4-H Club has received many Winn Parish Club of the Year awards.She received the coveted Louisiana State 4-H Records Leader Award and participated in the educational trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee, in July 2016.

— Sarah Jones has been a vital part of Sabine Parish 4-H for 16 years. She has been a Sabine Parish Fair board member for three years. She has served on the Sabine Parish advisory board for the past nine years and also serves as the secretary on the Sabine Parish 4-H Foundation board. In November 2018, Jones was elected to serve as president-elect of the Louisiana Volunteer Leaders Association, of which she has been a lifetime member since 2008. She is also one of the Louisiana representatives for the Volunteer Conference of Southern States, where she will serve on the planning committee.

Jones started the 4-H Club at Belmont Union Christian Academy and served as organizational club leader for 14 years. She also currently serves as the Many High School 4-H Club sponsor and plans, organizes and executes the meetings and field trips for this group. She has also been a Junior Leader volunteer since 2010 and has consistently chaperoned trips and attended camps and meetings while also planning fundraisers, working with service-learning committees and driving students to practices, contests and events. In 2017, she received the Sabine Parish Award for 15 years of service and also became a Bronze Level Master Volunteer with the help of her agent, Nan Arthur. In 2017, she received the first Hall of Fame recognition for Sabine Parish at the parish awards night event. Last year, she received the Salute to Excellence South Region Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Volunteer award and solidified her Silver Level Master Volunteer status.

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The Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame inducted 12 people on April 27, 2019. They include, front row from left, 4-H Agent Hope Guidry representing Jamey Allemond, of Lafayette Parish; Sarah Jones, of Sabine Parish; Emile Thibodeaux, of Vermilion Parish; Chris Martin, of East Baton Rouge Parish; Burnell Lejeune, of Lafayette Parish; Lonnie McCray, of Caddo Parish; back row from left, Annette Matherne, representing A.J. Melancon, of St. Charles Parish; Beverly Hains, of Acadia Parish; Claudette Broussard, of Vermilion Parish; Judy and Shannon Sullivan, representing John S. Sullivan Jr.; Jeanie Rowland, of Lincoln Parish; and Melinda Miles, of Winn Parish.

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