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Three from Bernalillo County inducted into New Mexico State University 4-H Hall of Fame

LAS CRUCES - Three people from Bernalillo County are among the 15 4-H leaders and supporters who were inducted into the state 4-H Hall of Fame recently at New Mexico State University. An unveiling of new nameplates on the hall of fame plaque followed the ceremony.

Anita Blanton, left, receives a plaque from Frank Hodnett, department head of the New Mexico State University Extension Service's 4-H youth development while being inducted into the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame. Blanton retired from the Cooperative Extension Service in 2002. Bernalillo County resident Catherine Grandia and her late husband, Bill, were also inducted into the hall of fame during the recent ceremony in Las Cruces. (NMSU Photo)

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.

"These individuals have given cumulatively more than 450 years of service to the New Mexico 4-H Program," said Frank Hodnett, department head of the Extension Service's 4-H youth development. "Including this group of inductees, we have inducted 111 individuals and couples into the hall of fame."

This year's inductees include Anita Blanton, and the late Bill and Catherine Grandia, all of Bernalillo County; C.J. and Nancy Blackburn, Gene and June Locknane and the late Dorothy Marks, all of Curry County; Norbert McCaw of Eddy County; Don Leonard and Karin Vallo of Sandoval County; Sheila Massey of Hidalgo County; J.M. and Fay Jeffries, and Floyd McAlister, all of Roosevelt County; Helen Candelaria and the late Alan Grace of San Juan County; Albert and Denise Gonzales of San Miguel County; and Rose Mary Rosas of Socorro County.

Blanton served 15 years as Bernalillo County's 4-H agent then held the position of county director until 2002, when she retired. She was best known for encouraging the 4-H members, leaders and parents to become involved in leadership and volunteerism, to do their best and to apply for college scholarships.

Blanton was instrumental in the development of the state leadership team, senior leadership retreat and the Home Ec Bowl. Previous honors she has received include honorary 4-H member, distinguished service awards from both the National 4-H Agents Association and Home Economics Association, and the Distinguished Extension Award from NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics.

"She hopes that she is remembered for her enthusiasm, a positive attitude and the involvement of everyone in the 4-H program," Phillip Zuni, NMSU freshman and 4-H state president, said during the induction ceremony.

The Riverside 4-H Club in Bernalillo County marked its 40th anniversary in 2006. The club was founded by Bill and Catherine Grandia, both of whom served as organizational leaders until Bill's death in 2004. Since then, Catherine has maintained her role as organizational leader.

The couple was instrumental in the groundbreaking of the Bernalillo County 4-H Center on Menaul Boulevard in 1965. This building has been used by thousands of youth, volunteers and Extension personnel to meet, learn by doing, experience new ideas, gain friendships and have fun. Catherine still serves on the 4-H Building Corporation Board.

"Mr. and Mrs. Grandia have touched the lives of countless youth, contributed to the training of numerous 4-H agents and been a guiding force in the Bernalillo County 4-H program," Zuni said.