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

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

Man with red tie receiving plaque from a man.
Paul Hay, of Eddy County, receives a recipient plaque in honor of his service to the county and state Cooperative Extension Service and the 4-H program. 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.?

Hay served as the 4-H agent and assistant agent for Eddy County from 1957 to 1967, and served as the Southeast District director from 1978 to 1988. He was dedicated to youth development in the county and state.

?Although it has been 47 years since he was the county agent, he is still remembered for the high standards that he set,? said Jami Maestas, state 4-H reporter, during the ceremony. ?He recruited and helped many young agents to work in 4-H, instilling in each of them the Extension Workers Creed.?

He constantly encouraged agents with a kind word or a note of ?that-a-boy,? but he had a way of bringing about correction in such a caring way that the agent knew he had a genuine interest in the success of the agent and the program, Maestas added.

Maestas said Hay is admired by his peers as commanding one of the best 4-H program in the state during his time with Eddy County, bringing in more participants, doing more activities and winning more awards. Even in his retirement, he continued to work to promote and grow the New Mexico 4-H program.

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 Hay as 2015 inductees are the late Joe Atkins, of Harding 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.