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Extraordinary 4-H volunteers honored

4-H volunteers awarded with Hall of Fame

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois 4-H empower and prepare youth for success as the program relies on its more than 6,000 volunteers to fill key leadership and mentoring roles. Fifty-three volunteers were recently honored by Illinois 4-H for their selfless dedication to the University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development program and inducted into the Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame.

Illinois 4-H honors and celebrates extraordinary 4-H alumni, volunteers, and former 4-H staff. Those inducted have a track record of exemplary service to 4-H or outstanding career and community achievement and were nominated by county University of Illinois Extension staff.

“Volunteers are the heart of the Illinois 4-H youth development program, embodying the spirit of dedicated service that nurtures the growth of our future leaders,” says Patricia McGlaughlin, University of Illinois Extension 4-H specialist. “Their unwavering commitment and selfless contributions empower our youth to learn, thrive, and make a positive impact on their communities. Volunteers help youth find their spark and help build our next generations.”

The 2023 Hall of Fame class includes: Tom Brookens, Christian County; Cartha Gustafson, Clark County; Brad Clark, Clay County; Jennifer Smith, Crawford County; Carl Heide, DeKalb County; Darra Walker, Edgar County; Alan Kollmann, Effingham County; Toby Probst, Jasper County; Ron and Lori Moore, Jersey County; Ron Alms, Kane County.

Tom Anderson, Kendall County; Kathy Anderson, Kendall County; David Dunham, Livingston County; Amy Hyde, Logan County; Jane Lee Carney, Macoupin County; Jeanne Parks, McLean County; Joyce Knodle, Montgomery County Gretchen Johnson, Ogle County; David Mendenhall, Sangamon County; Doug Bunting, Edwards County; John Davis, Grundy County; Benda Brokaw, Henderson County; William Van Wassenhove, Kankakee County.

Mary Beth Bowman, Knox County; Steven and Carrie Potts, Lawrence County; Monica Torrance, McDonough County; Jennifer Wittum, McHenry County; Heidi Ruwald, Monroe County; Mark Steber, Richland County; Cheri White, Saline County; Russell and Maxine Stewart, Warren County; Burton “Gary” Torrens, Washington County; Melinda States, Wayne County; Amy Hildebrandt, Boone County; Kenn and Lora Corban, Bureau County; Mary Green, Carroll County.

Brad and Paula Zwilling, Champaign County; Mary Ellen McClure, Ford County; Janis Blout, Fulton County; Angela Jones, Iroquois County; Betsy Muehleip, Chad Wilson, LaSalle County; Erin Odle, Lee County; Dinah VanDelinder, Mason County; Steve Ausmus, Mercer County; Cathy Ludolph, Peoria County; Karl Ziegler, Putnam County; Lynne Schroeder, Rock Island County; Jim Hampton, Shelby County; Julie Miller, Stephenson County; Duane Lessen, Tazewell County; Nikki Duffy, Vermilion County; and Elizabeth Russo, Winnebago County.

Ceremonies were held over a three-day period to match up with each county’s exhibit days at the 4-H General Project Show. Each inductee received a commemorative Hall of Fame medallion at the Illinois State Fair 4-H Alumni & Volunteer Celebration events.

For Further Information Contact:

News Source: Patricia McGlaughlin, Volunteer Specialist, University of Illinois Extension,

News Writer: Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager,

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. 

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.