Oregon 4-H Hall of Fame inducts five

November 3, 2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Five adult volunteers from across the state will be inducted into the Oregon 4-H Hall of Fame during their county recognition nights in November.

The Oregon 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2004 to recognize those who have had a significant impact upon the Oregon State University Extension 4-H Youth Development Program and its members and leaders. One hundred people were inducted in that first year – one person for each year 4-H had existed in Oregon – and more honorees are added each year.

The 2009 Hall of Fame inductees are: Patricia Combest, Marion County; Mike and Gail Mann, Linn County; Nellie Oehler, Benton County; and Vern Struble, Benton County.

Marion County:
Combest will be honored at the Marion County recognition night Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Stayton Community Center. A well-known leader and supporter of Marion County 4-H, she created the Willamette River Riders riding club 43 years ago. Combest encouraged club members to win riding competitions, but also to try other areas in 4-H such as presentations, photography and educational displays to build confidence and responsibility. She has served as superintendent of the Marion County Fair and in several other leadership positions, and her name is on many of the 4-H horse-training manuals.

Linn County:
The Linn County award winners will receive their award Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Linn County Fairgrounds conference rooms. Nationally recognized quarter horse breeders, the Manns have been involved in 4-H since the mid-1950s, when they were children participating in equine and livestock clubs. Gail Mann has been an active 4-H leader for 30 years, and led the largest horse 4-H club in Linn County for more than 20 years. The Manns offer free clinics and riding space at their equine facility to any Linn County 4-H member who wishes to visit and learn. They provide 4-H horse club members with educational opportunities and have given horses to 4-H members who could not afford project animals. Gail Mann also has been a 4-H judge in county and state fairs for many years.

Benton County:
Benton County will recognize Oehler and Struble at the awards and recognition banquet Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. at Philomath Elementary School.

Oehler has given 44 years to the Oregon 4-H program as a volunteer leader and many years as a family and community development Extension agent in Linn, Benton and Lane Counties. She has touched the lives of many 4-H members, leaders and families and is known statewide for her humor, wit, energy and commitment. Oehler has led home economics, livestock and 4-H Cloverbud clubs in Linn and Benton counties and is known for helping youth focus on learning and fun. She has been a county 4-H sheep barn superintendent for more than15 years and coordinates the large animal Master Showmanship contest each year at the county fair. At the state level she serves as the "Dorm Mom" at the State Fair, and is also the State Fair herdsmanship judge.

Struble has led the Benton 4-H Archers for 45 years and has served on the county 4-H Advisory Council for six years. The archery program has brought urban residents and youths from underrepresented groups into 4-H. At the state level, Struble coordinated the 4-H archery contest for many years and served on the state 4-H Shooting Sports Development and Natural Resources Development committees. He encourages fellow bow hunters to make a difference in the lives of youth by getting involved as 4-H leaders.

Author: Judy Scott
Source: Helen Pease