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State 4-H Conference recognizes supporters, friends

Extraordinary individuals and businesses from across New Mexico were recognized at the 83rd annual State 4-H Conference Awards Ceremony held at New Mexico State University.

the event three individuals were given the Friend of 4-H award and three Honorary 4-H Member awards were given out.

The Friend of 4-H award recognizes NMSU employees or volunteer 4-H leaders who have contributed extensive time and effort to improving the New Mexico 4-H program. The 2006 recipients are Smiley Wooten, Ana Eader and Verna Funk.

Smiley Wooten of Roswell has been a volunteer 4-H board member for five years and has been the state 4-H board president for the last two years. Wooten's family has been involved with youth 4-H projects in southern New Mexico for 40 years.

Ana Eader of Moriarty has been a 4-H leader in San Juan and Torrance counties for more than 25 years. Most of Eader's involvement is in the horse program. She served as an instructor at the New Mexico 4-H horse school for 11 years, has been the state 4-H horse show ring steward for the last six years and was the state 4-H Queens Contest judge for six years. Eader has been a representative on NMSU's Extension Support Council for Torrance County for the past seven years.

Verna Funk of Artesia has served on the Eddy County Fair Board for more than 20 years until her recent retirement. Funk was also one of the founders of the Eddy County Youth Supporters, which contributes more than $20,000 to Eddy County youth each year.

The Honorary 4-H Member award is given to donors and volunteers for New Mexico 4-H. Recipients of the award for 2006 include Alberta Chappell, Otero County Electric Cooperative and the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM).

Alberta Chappell of Farmington has played a major role in the San Juan County 4-H program in just three years of involvement. Owner of the Bernina Sewing Center, Chappell has provided sewing machines, classroom space, staff expertise and merchandise discounts to 4-H members enrolled in sewing projects. She is involved with the weekly sewing workshops and assists beginning to advanced sewers. Throughout her service more youth have started entering their sewing projects in the fashion review and local fairs.
Otero County Electric Cooperative, based in Cloudcroft, has been a major supporter of New Mexico 4-H for more than 20 years. The business became involved when 4-H Electric Camp, now known as Novice Camp, was first established. Otero County Electric Cooperative continues to provide support through camp planning, workshops and recruitment.

PNM, based in Albuquerque, was a major sponsor of this year's State 4-H Conference. During the awards ceremony PNM presented the 4-H program with a check for $10,000, the second part of a three-year financial sponsorship.

"PNM has been a donor to the 4-H program for as long as I can remember," said Amy Zemler, the state 4-H leadership team adviser. "They have provided funding for various 4-H activities and events."

The 4-H Youth Development Program was implemented in 1902 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to introduce improved methods of farming and homemaking throughout the country. Today it is the largest youth organization in the world with approximately 7 million members in America alone and programs in 80 additional countries. More than 75,000 members are enrolled in New Mexico with assistance from 11,000 adult volunteers. Programs include an array of life skills education from family living to animal science, leadership to the arts.

Mickelle C. Spendlove
Sept.8, 2006