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Former Harding County resident inducted into New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame

The late Joe Atkins, formerly of Harding County, was inducted into the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame at New Mexico State University during the 4-H State Conference.

Woman in red blouse receiving plaque from a man.
Neil Atkins receives a recipient plaque in honor of her father, the late Joe Atkins, being inducted into the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame. Presenting the plaque is Rick Richardson, NMSU 4-H Youth Development interim department head. (NMSU photo by Jocelyn Apodaca)

?This is the highest honor we have to offer people who have provided support and service to 4-H members in New Mexico,? said Rick Richardson, interim department head of the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service?s 4-H Youth Development Program. ?Including this group, we have inducted 211 individuals and couples into the hall of fame.?

Atkins helped organize the Alamocita 4-H Club in the Yates Community in 1961. He assisted participants with projects and chaperoned several State 4-H Conference trips.

He was a member of the Harding County Fair Board for 15 years. He served as a ring steward for the 4-H Horse Show and county junior livestock sale.

?Mr. Atkins participated in Harding County 4-H events until 1973, when he and his wife, Beth, moved to Missouri,? said Rhett Grant, State 4-H Vice President, during the ceremony.
?However, Mr. Atkins continued to support the kids of Harding County. He and his wife would return to Roy every first Friday of August to support the youth during the county fair.?

For 35 years, he purchased an animal at the county junior livestock sale, which he almost always donated to the Boys and Girls Ranch of New Mexico.

Atkins was a member of the New Mexico Cattlegrowers Association, Northeastern New Mexico Livestock Association, Lions Club, New Mexico Farm Bureau, Roy Booster Club, New Mexico Mounted Patrol and the Oklahoma State University Foundation.

?He loved his ranch, the community of Roy and Harding County, and always wanted the best for the young people of the area,? Grant said as Atkins? daughter, Neil Atkins, accepted the plaque honoring for her late father.

The hall of fame, established in 2002, honors 4-H members, volunteer leaders, fair superintendents, advisory board members, 4-H Foundation trustees and former faculty with NMSU?s Cooperative Extension Service, which administers 4-H statewide.

Joining Atkins as 2015 inductees are Paul Hay, of Eddy County; Pete Gnatkowski and Kristin Sultemeier, both of Lincoln County; Randy and Diane Lieb, of Roosevelt County; and David and Mary Howard, of Santa Fe County.