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Retired Lincoln County Extension agent inducted into New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame

Former Cooperative Extension Service county agent Pete Gnatkowski was inducted into the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame at New Mexico State University during the 4-H State Conference.


Man without tie receiving plaque from a man.
Retired Lincoln County Cooperative Extension Service agent Pete Gnatkowski was 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.?

As an agent in Lincoln County, Gnatkowski began working with 4-H youth in 1983. He coached numerous wool teams to state championships and then on to the National 4-H Wool Judging Competition in Sonora, Texas.

Gnatkowski was instrumental in the Carrizozo FFA Wool Judging Contest since its inception and continues to help every year.

?He also assisted young 4-H members in getting their lambs ready for the Lincoln County Fair,? said Wade Stearn, state 4-H president, during the ceremony. ?Along with his ability to turn sheep into a youth development tool, Mr. Gnatkowski could always find a way to create a positive experience for youth. He never shied away from hard work, especially if it meant helping out a child.?

Gnatkowski developed an orienteering program for the state Novice camp, as well as teaching many new volunteers and agents to braid.

He has the Lincoln County Fair Junior Livestock sale since 1999, as well as taking care of all the accounting for the fairs. He continues to volunteer: teaching during the county?s Ag Days, helping during the fair, and doing anything else 4-H members need help with.

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