OSU Extension Association recognizes 'cooperator' volunteers and 4-H Leaders of the Year

June 27, 2012

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Eleven "cooperator" volunteers received awards and three 4-H Leaders of the Year were recognized at the Oregon State University Extension Association recognition banquet May 2 at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center in Corvallis. Three businesses and organizations also were honored.

"For more than 30 years, the OSU Extension Association has recognized volunteers for the significant contributions they have made to Extension programs," said Associate Provost Deborah Maddy.

"More than 14,000 volunteers helped Extension deliver educational programs across Oregon during 2011," she said. "Extension gets results and builds communities with the help of volunteers, who last year contributed more than a million hours of service – the equivalent of about 567 FTE."

Following are:
Cooperator volunteer awardees, listed by county
Three 4-H Leaders of the year
Three business and organization awardees

Benton County
Don and Debbie Lauer

After retiring, Don and Debbie Lauer joined the Master Gardeners in 2006 and became involved in many projects in the Benton County Master Gardener program. They focused on outreach to the public on sustainable gardening practices, furthering the mission of the program. Don recognized the need for a volunteer to organize plant clinics and increased the number of clinics at community events. He possesses the patience and skill to work with large groups of volunteers and increased Master Gardener presence by reaching over 1,000 people in the community.

Debbie organized a mentor program and increased retention of new Master Gardeners. She worked with a team to make the plant clinic at the desk in the Extension office a positive experience. Don and Debbie have each donated more than 2,000 hours to the program. Their involvement as volunteers extends to other organizations, and they truly exemplify what it means to be a Master Gardener.

Clackamas County
Patti Jarrett

Jarrett, best described as an Extension Volunteer "extraordinaire," became involved in Extension’s programs in Clackamas County when she retired and began to manage, with her husband Paul, their 60-acre farm, just south of Oregon City.

Jarrett wanted to learn how to grow her own food, preserve fruits and vegetables and manage the property. She has always been one to take charge, provide leadership and make things happen. She trained as a Master Food Preserver in 2006 and still coordinates outreach activities for her volunteer partners. Jarrett's most significant contribution to Extension is her leadership in the local Extension Advisory Council. As the chair, Jarrett challenged the council to find a new way to fund Extension locally. A two-year effort led to creation of the Extension and 4-H Service District, which has one of the largest county Extension budgets in the U.S.

Clatsop County
Cyndi Mudge

Mudge is Executive Director for Astoria Sunday Market, President Elect of Astoria Rotary and a member of the Art & Cultural Committee for Astoria’s Downtown Historic District Association. She has worked for non-profit organizations for more than twenty years and in 2005 received the Oregon Governor’s Volunteer Award.

A job and skills fair she produced in Seattle, Teen Workforce '97, inspired the Young Entrepreneur Project, which was launched in partnership with the Clatsop County 4-H Club. Mudge continues her mission to provide young people with opportunities to develop strong work ethics, job skills and passion to pursue career goals. The Youth Entrepreneur Project gives youth the opportunity to design, develop and market a product and the opportunity to apply for a small grant. It has been beneficial for building confidence, communication and perseverance among the youth who participate. Mudge has made success happen for youth and is committed to making a positive contribution to the community.

Coos County
Jon Souder

Souder has had a long-term interest in the environment, from his undergraduate days through his numerous career experiences working for the federal government, Peace Corps in Nepal, Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service and as a professor of Forest Policy at Northern Arizona University. Souder joined the Coos Watershed Association in 2000 as executive director, and several Oregon Sea Grant Extension faculty have worked with him on projects, including invasive species, watershed education programs for high school students, collaboration on funding requests and research projects. Jon’s scientific and organizational contributions have impacted individuals across Coos County and Oregon. His drive and energy have been instrumental in procuring needed funding for research and rehabilitation projects. His work as Executive Director of the Coos Watershed Association has been a model for watershed groups across Oregon. He continues to be a valuable partner for OSU Extension.

Jackson County
Michele Pryse

Pryse represents the best of Extension innovation as she models how tradition can be enhanced and delivered in an innovative and beckoning manner. She has integrated her Master Food Preserver and Master Gardener expertise into her own life and the community’s life since her first training in 1999. She led Jackson County’s Master Food Preserver/Family Food Education Volunteers organization to a statewide record of 62 certified master food preservers.

Pryse has been instrumental in developing a suite of fee-based Extension classes; she participates in the Extension Advisory Council and was named the first-ever, Extension-affiliated “Queen of the Jackson County Fair” in 2010. She appears on Scott’s Garden, a television gardening show. She is responsible for initiating a partnership with the Jackson County Historical Society to provide training using historical agriculture food preservation techniques. She is the kind of volunteer that personifies the future of Extension — at its best.

Lake County
John Marcus

Marcus is a Lakeview area rancher and active member of the 4-H Leaders Association in Lake County. He has been working to reenergize the association. His dedication and contributions to Extension through 4-H programs is extensive. He helped resurrect and reorganize the Big Sage Beef 4-H Club and collaborated with community partners to provide a welding club in which 4-H members have gained lifelong skills.

Marcus has facilitated the start of a free annual 4-H supporters breakfast, staffed and funded by 4-H clubs, as a thank you to previous supporters of 4-H/FFA. He also serves as a member of a local 4-H College Scholarship Committee. Marcus is a strong leader and mentor of junior 4-H leaders. Many alumni of his clubs continue to be strong supporters and volunteers of the 4-H Development Program. One of John’s biggest supporters is his wife, Deborah, who shares in many of these endeavors.

Lane County
Patty Driscoll

Driscoll has been an OSU Master Gardener volunteer since 1993, and a Master Food Preserver since 2006. She has been a training mentor, served as president and treasurer on the Lane County Master Gardener Association Board and as chair of the Oregon Master Gardener Association Board and received the Oregon Master Gardener of the Year Award.

Driscoll teaches classes as part of the Pruning Specialist program and is chair for the Compost Specialist program. She has used her outstanding leadership skills with the Save Lane Extension Programs group, seeking stable funding to save Lane County Extension Service in its entirety. She worked tirelessly to bring volunteers together, pass out signs and get the word out. When the election failed, Driscoll worked to reinstate the Master Food Preserver program. Because of creative fund raising, partnership building and volunteers like Driscoll, Lane County Extension Services continue.

Lincoln County
Alan Pazar

Pazar is a commercial fisherman and small business owner who lives and works on the Oregon Coast. Al has been involved in OSU Extension programs for more than 20 years. He took trainings and workshops and used resources and publications that were available from Oregon Sea Grant at the Lincoln County Extension Office in Newport.

Pazar's involvement went from customer to collaborator and he has been involved in major Sea Grant Extension programs. Through the Extension program SAFE(Scientist and Fishermen Exchange), Al has engaged with researchers and has spearheaded many collaborative research efforts. At his suggestion, temperature sensors were attached to crab pots, and a nationally recognized research program was started. Al is a partner in two other west coast collaborative research Extension programs, the Port Liaison Project and the Collaborative Research on Oregon Ocean Salmon. Marine reserves and wave energy research have benefited from Al’s cooperative approach.

Polk County
Carol Harris

In the beginning, Harris had no horse experience. She started in the Polk County 4-H horse program over 20 years ago when her daughter wanted a horse and joined 4-H. Harris became a club parent and never missed a meeting!

Now Harris is a leader, chair of the horse committee and fair superintendent. Her commitment to volunteering, working with kids and her organizational and people skills became very apparent early on. She puts 4-H and education above competition and is involved beyond the county level as a member of the State Horse Development Committee. She supports local horse rescue programs and is a board member of Keizer Art Association. Carol’s husband, Keith, says, "I was really a naïve husband, I thought she would quit after our daughter graduated. I had to join in just so I could see my wife."

Yamhill County
Verna O'Laughlin

O'Loughlin has been involved with 4-H since she was a child and is currently the leader of the Thundering Hooves 4-H Club, in which she has volunteered for 14 years. She has had many major responsibilities during this time: County Fair 4-H Cloverbuds superintendent, coordinator for 4-H Master Showmanship competition, 4-H horse show coordinator, 4-H horse superintendent, Northwest Region 4-H apprentice horse judge, Yamhill County 4-H State Fair horse chaperone, 4-H Leaders Association board member, 4-H Leaders Association president, and 4-H Advisory council member. As a 4-H leader, O'Loughlin shares her love of riding and ability to teach even the most novice rider. She sponsors county 4-H Horse Awards. Verna has received the 4-H Horse Leader of the Year, Clete Drader Outstanding Service Award, 4-H Distinguished Service Award and the 4-H Outstanding Alumni Award. Verna has a "can do" spirit, puts kids first and serves as a role model for other volunteers.

Yamhill County
Bob and Barbara Grossmann

Since 1966, Bob and Barbara Grossman have been involved with OSU Extension in Yamhill County and statewide. After retiring, they both enrolled in the OSU Master Gardener training. Soon Barbara took over the lead for the OSU Master Gardener Library, and created a cataloging and acquisition system. She continues to volunteer when she can on other projects.

Bob brought his lifelong interest in entomology to the Master Gardeners. He formed an Insect Committee, which studies sample insects from clients and provides information to them. The committee has produced many educational displays, including the spinning wheel "Good Bug/Bad Bug" about beneficial insects, which was popular at the 2011 Oregon State Fair. He has taught the highly praised Advanced Insect Training as well as other insect-related classes at Master Gardener Mini-College. Bob writes a popular column, "Buggy Bits," for the OSU program newsletter, Grapevine. 

2012 4-H Leaders of the Year

Debbie Pratt, Benton County

Pratt is deeply committed to 4-H. She is humble and "behind the scenes," but knows that her 4-H volunteer work has a huge impact on young people and the overall program.

For 16 years, Pratt has been an active member of the 4-H Leaders Council helping to establish budgets, coordinate fund-raising efforts, handle donations, manage scholarships and distribute project funds. In addition to applying her skills effectively as Benton County Association treasurer, she assists teens and volunteer leaders develop life skills in leadership and master skills in the 4-H dog project.

Pratt doesn’t just volunteer for the Benton County 4-H Program, she promotes 4-H at Hewlett-Packard, where she works, and has donated funds to 4-H for many years. The Oregon 4-H Leaders Association is proud to honor Pratt as an Oregon 4-H Leader of the Year.

Karen Rinehart, Wallowa County

Rinehart is a "super-volunteer" in Wallowa County. She has the energy to accept and complete major challenges that have a huge impact on the Wallowa County 4-H program. Karen lives her values through community service with 4-H members and through her own efforts. Examples include the County Jr. Leader Project, called “Ride for Life” in which participants raise funds for cancer research when riding a horse for a 24-hour period.

Rinehart also managed a $20,000 renovation project on the County Fairgrounds to benefit 4-H youth project learning. And she has impacted public health by coordinating a clinic to inform the community about why and how to vaccinate dogs against rabies. Rinehart's energy is contagious! The youth in the Wallowa 4-H program feel great about what they are learning because of her enthusiastic support. The Oregon 4-H Leaders Association is happy to honor Rinehart as a valued 4-H volunteer and a 2012 Oregon 4-H Leader of the Year.

Margaret Santee, Clatsop County

The Clatsop County 4-H Program is lucky to have Margaret Santee as a 4-H leader. Margaret teaches workshops for all 4-H members and volunteers in the county, takes photographs, coordinates judging events, and then becomes the "right hand" of the OSU Extension 4-H staff.

Santee is calm and professional. She stays one step ahead of challenges to help ensure quality 4-H programming in Clatsop County. She is always a positive role model for youth and adults alike. The Oregon 4-H Leaders’ Association is pleased to join the Clatsop County 4-H Program in acknowledging Margaret Santee as an Oregon 4-H Leader of the Year.

Business and organization awardees

Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods
Lori and David Sobelson

Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods' emphasis on health and better living has led to support and mutual partnership with the OSU Extension Service. Based in Milwaukie, the company has had numerous interactions with the Clackamas County office since the 1980s. Bob’s Red Mill has been especially supportive of 4-H and nutrition programs.

Annual donations to the 4-H program support educational workshops and county fair awards. Bob’s Red Mill was named a Clackamas County Friend of 4-H in 2002. Bob’s has been a supporter of the nonprofit Clackamas County Friends of Extension, donating auction items and even hosting a fundraising event. Bob Moore, the company’s founder, has been recognized by OSU with a Weatherford Award and as a major donor. The reputation of Bob's Red Mill extends beyond the borders of Oregon: Extension publications and web sites nationwide list Bob's Red Mill as a resource.

Lane Community College
James Lindly, Shirl Meads, Diane Pigg

A strong working partnership with Lane Community College is important for the survival of the Lane County OSU Extension Service Horticulture Program. Extension faculty and the Community College’s Small Business Development Center have developed a successful working relationship that includes joint educational efforts to conserve resources and benefit students.

With funding received through a grant, LCC and OSU work together to provide outreach and assistance for new and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. LCC started sponsoring OSU programs six years ago, offering classes and trainings through the Small Business Development Center. They have provided assistance to Extension training programs, including grant funding, facilities, staff and technical support and marketing. LCC has supplied political support to raise awareness, and facilitate understanding and communication around local funding for the OSU Extension service. Always community-oriented, LCC’s Small Business Development Center takes to heart public need and the sound use of financial resources.

Strong Women Volunteers
Sue Rode, Jane Schlacht, Yolanda Gentile (Jackson County), Jackie Dwyer, Nancy Fenton and Kathy Szewc (Josephine County)

The Strong Women Volunteers offer one-hour classes at Extension sites in Jackson and Josephine counties to almost three hundred women (and a few men). These program leaders are committed to improving the strength, endurance, flexibility and balance of pre-menopausal women, and have been since 2003. These volunteers are independently in charge of all aspects of the training, with faculty oversight. Enrollment focuses on older adult women with limited financial resources. Participants have generally never heard of Extension until they enrolled in the Strong Women sessions. These Strong Women actively participated in developing the physical fitness and exercise module for the web-based Mastery of Aging Well series, and participated in providing training in hospitals and clinic venues. Participants state they have experienced increases in self-confidence and verbalize a "greater ability to sleep well" and "a reduction in the tendency to be depressed."

Author: Judy Scott
Source: Deborah Maddy