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Former McKinley County residents inducted into New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame

Former McKinley County residents the late Dempse and Viriginia Anderson were among the seven 4-H leaders and supporters inducted into the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame in July at New Mexico State University. The induction ceremony, which was held during the 4-H State Conference, included individual recognition for the inductees and a reception.


Two men and a lady standing in front of the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame sign.
Rick Richardson, interim department head of the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service's 4-H Youth Development Program, left, presents a plaque to Tina and Chet Robinson of McKinley County honoring Tina's parents, the late Dempse and Virginia Anderson, as 2012 inductees into the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

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.

"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. "These individuals have given cumulatively more than 180 years of service to the New Mexico 4-H program. Including this group, we have inducted 186 individuals and couples into the hall of fame."

The Andersons were inducted along with Geraldine "Gerry" Copeland and Don Umbrage of Bernalillo County; Barbara Arko of Colfax County; and the late Willie Glen "Bill" and Edna Vinzant of Roosevelt County.

The Andersons were 4-H club leaders for many years in McKinley County. Virginia was project leader for anything having to do with fabrics. She made many outfits for her daughter, as well as several of the young ladies who participated in horse show and rodeo competition. Dempse was project leader in rodeo, horse show and livestock.

In the late 1960s, before the creation of McKinley and Cibola counties, the western Valencia County 4-H youth had to travel to eastern Valencia County to compete in the county fair. Because of the cost many 4-H youth could not attend. The Andersons, along with other parents, organized the Uranium Capital Bi-County Fair, which is now known as Bi-County Fair where today's youth from Cibola and McKinley counties compete.

"Even though they are no longer with us, Dempse and Virginia Anderson continue to be an inspiration to 4-H volunteers and youth in both McKinley and Cibola counties," according to the letter nominating the couple for the hall of fame.

The couples' daughter, Tina Robinson, and her husband, Chet, accepted the hall of fame honors in memory of her parents.