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Five from Curry County inducted into New Mexico State University 4-H Hall of Fame

LAS CRUCES - Five people from Curry County are among 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.

C.J. and Nancy Blackburn of Curry County receive a plaque from Frank Hodnett, department head of the New Mexico State University Extension Service's 4-H youth development, recently while being inducted into the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame. (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 C.J. and Nancy Blackburn, Gene and June Locknane and the late Dorothy Marks, all of Curry County; Anita Blanton, and the late Bill and Catherine Grandia, all of Bernalillo County; Norbert McCaw of Eddy County; Sheila Massey of Hidalgo County; J.M. and Fay Jeffries, and Floyd McAlister, all of Roosevelt County; Don Leonard and Karin Vallo of Sandoval 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.

The Blackburns served as leaders for the Grady 4-H Club for 16 years. They encouraged youth to be active in 4-H contests and activities and as a result, youth in the Grady club have won numerous awards at the county, district, state and national levels.

"They gave unselfishly of their time, providing cattle for judging contests, assisting with record books or simply taking photos," Phillip Zuni, NMSU freshman and state 4-H president, said during the induction ceremony. "Serving as both transportation and chaperones, the Blackburns were always the first to arrive and the last to leave any county event."

June and Gene Locknane are two of the most dedicated 4-H leaders Curry County has ever known. With a combined service of 57 years, the couple provided guidance and encouragement to members of the Blacktower 4-H Club.

"Whether it was writing skits or teaching members to sew on a button, which Mrs. Locknane did at the beginning of each 4-H year, this couple motivated youth to achieve their goals and help them acquire skills that would last throughout a lifetime," Zuni said.

"Mr. Locknane helped them learn to buy, care for, feed and groom their animals. Mrs. Locknane encouraged public speaking through club demonstrations."

The couple has worked endless hours supporting the 4-H program during a 30-year span. Their achievement can be measured in the youth they encouraged to complete record books, serve on state leadership teams and become successful men and women.

The late Dorothy Marks was the leader of the Cloverettes 4-H Club in Curry County for 34 years. She encouraged her club members to complete every project they signed up for, even having workshops at her home for each project. She motivated each member to exhibit their projects at achievement days and fairs, and to get involved in contests and other 4-H activities. Cloverettes brought home many awards each year.

"Mrs. Marks was always willing to help a child, including providing transportation to all the 4-H activities," Zuni said. "She lived and breathed 4-H for more than three decades and countless young people are better citizens today as a result of her nurturing them." Butch Marks accepted the award honoring his mother.