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Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame volunteers honored for selfless dedication

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill – Illinois 4-H volunteers empower and prepare youth for success as the program relies on its more than 6,000 volunteers to fill key leadership and mentoring roles. Longtime volunteers and former staff members were recently honored by the Illinois 4-H Foundation for their selfless dedication to the University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development program.

In 2022, 84 individuals were inducted into the Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame, during a virtual ceremony held May 20. Five of the honorees are being named posthumously.

The Illinois 4-H Foundation established the statewide Hall of Fame in 2005 to honor and celebrate 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 either county University of Illinois Extension staff or by the Illinois 4-H Foundation Board. Each inductee receives a commemorative Hall of Fame medallion.

“The Foundation is pleased to honor these outstanding individuals for their commitment to the 4-H program,” says Angie Barnard, Illinois 4-H Foundation executive director. “The impact that is made on youth because of the inductees’ willingness to provide a patient, caring hand is invaluable.”

Illinois 4-H programs reach nearly 130,000 youth each year through 4-H clubs, camps, educational programs, workshops, and conferences held in communities, schools, parks, and homes across Illinois. Volunteers fill key leadership and mentoring roles throughout the state.

To volunteer in your community, one may request information from the local Extension office. “There is a place for everyone in 4-H, whether you have an hour or a lifetime to give,” Barnard says.

The 2022 Hall of Fame winners include:

Carolyn Roberts, Adams County; Melynda “Mindy” Jefferson, Bond County; Gene “Butch” Peters, Boone County; Shelly Allen-Miller, Bureau County; Sherry Allen, Bureau County; Sue Stephenson, Champaign County; Debra Forbes; Christian County; Gerald “Jerry” Forsythe, Clark County; Kimberly Wolter, Clinton County; Joe Stephenson, Crawford County; Roger Swingler, Cumberland County; Corinne Swingler, Cumberland County; Dale Sanderson, DeKalb County; Kim Gibbons, Dewitt County; Tim Walker, Douglas County; Jim McGuire, DuPage County; Dale Cash, Edgar County; Rebecca Perry, Edwards County; Julia Finfrock, Effingham County; Dennis Finfrock; Effingham County; Steve Meenen, Ford County;

Robyn Hendel, Fulton County; Diane McLuckie, Grundy County; the late Andrew “Andy” Miller Jr., Hamilton County; Natalie Lionberger, Hancock County; Sara Nimrick, Henderson County; Angela Reed, Henry County; Julie Fischer, Iroquois County; Marge Thompson, Jasper County; Steve Norris, Jefferson County; Mary Thompson, Jersey County; Goldie Foley, Jo Daviess County; Doris Braddock, Kane County; Rita Adams, Kankakee County; Mary Schobert; Kendall County; Michael Betz, Knox County; Kendra Betz, Knox County; Jill Hevrdejs, Lake County; Michelle Rich, LaSalle County; John “Ron” Waldrop, Lawrence County; Judy Lohse, Lee County; Amy Schlipf, Livingston County; Patty Huffer, Logan County; the late David Schafer, Macoupin County; Helen Schafer, Macoupin County;

Patricia Stanton, Madison County; Deanna Thomas, Marion County; Lori Toepper, Marshall County; Timothy Fanter, Mason County; Karen Cox, Massac County; Allen Barclay, McDonough County; LeeAnn McNamara, McHenry County; Rachel Kridner, McLean County; Michael “Mike” Peterson, Mercer County; Wilbert “Gene” Kraemer, Monroe County; Larry Elvidge, Montgomery County; the late Janet Elvidge, Montgomery County.

Sheryl Hopkins, Ogle County; Lyle Hopkins, Ogle County; Carol Cowser; Peoria County; Diana Leischner, Piatt County; the late Esther Waddy, Pulaski County; Becky Steber, Richland County; Julie Derrer, Rock Island County; the late Darrell Beutler, St. Clair County; James Bond, Saline County; Jeanette Bond, Saline County; Sharon Lounsberry, Sangamon and Menard County; John Brix, Shelby County; Joseph Tracy, Stark County; Dean Kuper, Stephenson County; Wayne Deppert, Tazewell County; Vonda Hill, Union County; Holly Clem, Vermilion County; Jason Tennis, Wabash County; Randal Shimmin, Warren County; Steve Harre, Washington County; Rick Davis, White County; Sandy Davis, White County; Melody Von Holten, Whiteside County; Mariana Maldonado, Will County; Sharon Chapman, Williamson County; Kathy Koning-McClure, Winnebago County; and Pete Fandel, Woodford County.

“The Foundation provides avenues to support the work of Illinois 4-H by accepting financial gifts specifically directed to the program you wish to support,” says Barnard. “Gift planning services are available to those wishing to continue their 4-H legacy.”

The Illinois 4-H Foundation raises private funds that are invested in Illinois 4-H programs that provide meaningful, positive development experiences for Illinois youth to develop leadership, citizenship, and life skills. To learn more, visit:

For Further Information Contact:

News Source: Angie Barnard, Illinois 4-H Foundation Executive Director, 217-333-0333

News Writer: Carissa Nelson, 4-H 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.