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The Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame Committee honored the 2018 Hall of Fame laureates during the Hall of Fame celebration held Nov. 3 at the Green Lake Conference Center.

The Hall of Fame was established to recognize 4-H volunteers, financial supporters, staff and pioneers who made major contributions to the 4-H movement at the local, state and national levels.

2018 Hall of Fame laureates

Ray Antoniewicz, UW-Extension Horse Specialist

Antoniewicz should be known as the “Father of the 4-H Horse Project.” Serving as an Extension Specialist from 1967 to 1998, Ray organized the first State 4-H Horse Show in 1969 and initiated the Wisconsin 4-H Horse Association in 1971. This was just the beginning. The project and its curriculum grew by leaps and bounds.

Ray encouraged volunteer leader training and in 1980 organized the first 4-H Horse Project Leader Conference at Upham Woods. Workshops included a mixture of horse related and leadership development topics for adult and youth leaders. This remains an annual event today, sometimes with over 200 in attendance.

Antoniewicz worked to expand learning opportunities for youth beyond the state borders. He served on the planning committee for the Eastern National 4-H Roundup. Working with other State Extension Specialists, he served on committees to develop Horse Bowl materials, criteria for public speaking events, horse judging and Hippology.

Ray served as an author of the National 4-H Horse Project curriculum and did a major update after his retirement. Ray’s emphasis was to strengthen and broaden the project and help more youth find ways to develop their life skills through their interest in horses.

Ray summarized his feelings about 4-H by stating, “4-H is a great way of developing youth in so many aspects of personal growth and especially their skills and abilities to work with groups and individuals. The time we spent in the project wasn’t about training horses, but rather developing young people.”

Mike Austin, Agricultural Reporter, TV and Radio host

Whether it is county fairs or State Fair, special 4-H events—any event relating to youth in 4-H in Northeast Wisconsin, you will hear the familiar voice of Mike Austin. Mike has been covering 4-H and agriculture on television and radio since 1980. The admiration and respect that people have for Mike is evident; even clearer is the admiration Mike has for people in the community. You will hear the smile in his voice before you see his face, and he is never too busy to shake a hand, talk about a project, and engage in conversation.

Although Mike was not a 4-H member growing up, you would never know it. Mike has a firm understanding of the reasons 4-H exists—to give young people the opportunity to learn through hands-on projects, and to develop skills that prepare them for the world of work and life. Mike displays his own citizenship while interviewing and reporting, and most importantly, tells the 4-H story of building citizenship and life skills to all who watch his television reports (WFRV serves 20 counties in Northeast Wisconsin and reaches 445,000 households) and hear his regional radio (WTAQ) show.

During county fair season, interviews with youth and adults start with life skills, not the ribbon, and focus on learning through 4-H, youth and adult partnerships, youth teaching youth and educating the public. Mike volunteers to lead workshops on preparing 4-H youth for working and talking with media.

Allen Gross, Washington County 4-H Volunteer

Allen Gross, better known as Al, started his 4-H endeavors as a parent of 4-H archery students in 1998 helping with youth and adults. Quickly though, he has become one of the most important and involved adult 4-H leader in Washington County 4-H.  As co-coordinator for the Washington County 4-H Shooting Sports Program, Al has spent countless hours dedicated to expanding membership, sharing knowledge, and enhancing the program.

By 2005 he became a nationally certified shotgun leader as a part of the 4-H State Shooting Training Board. If that was not enough, in 2006, Al helped initiate the Wisconsin team for the Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP). Even once his children graduated from 4-H, Al continued to contribute to the 4-H programs by leading shooting sports classes, coaching the WHEP team, and organizing the county-level photography project.

In gaining all of these leadership experiences, Al shares this knowledge with 4-H youth members and adult volunteers so they can become more involved and successful leaders, too. The youth of Washington County 4-H and State 4-H Shooting Sports look up to Al’s for his dedication to 4-H and more.  Allen is a true 18 year 4-H volunteer leader and creates great youth and leader partnership for all. The 4-H program has gained many levels of knowledge and a great leader.

Byron Hacker, Calumet County 4-H Volunteer

Byron Hacker grew up in Calumet County 4-H. He became a volunteer when his children joined and now 29 years later, he is still serving.

Byron is passionate about plant and soil science projects, and has taught workshops on the local, state and national levels, including Fall Forum and the Wisconsin 4-H and Youth Conference. He has recruited youth to compete at the State 4-H Plant Science Day, with members progressing to national competitions, where he was their chaperone. He is the Wisconsin advisor to the National Junior Horticulture Association and serves on the State Plant and Soil Science Committee.

When asked why he volunteers, Byron replied “somebody has to do it.” He believes that if youth don’t have mentors in areas that interest them, they will lose interest. While judging at a county fair, Byron met a youth passionate about perennials. With encouragement, that youth attend the NJHA convention and was later elected to a national office.

Byron spent his career as a social worker for Calumet County. He has mentored many youth, and made a difference in their lives because he truly cares and wants to see them succeed. That same caring and loving attitude extends to his 4-H work.

A humble person, Byron doesn’t volunteer for the recognition, but in 1998 he received Calumet County 4-H’s Special Leadership recognition award. In 2017 he was Calumet County’s 4-H Lifetime Volunteer. The Calumet County Fair named him Fair Person of the Year in 2016 for his dedication as superintendent.

Ray Heidtke, Washington County 4-H Volunteer

Ray Heidtke has been a 4-H volunteer leader for the woodworking project in Washington County for over 33 years. He has guided hundreds of youth as they build their craftsmanship in the wood shop.

Ray’s leadership extends beyond the project leader role. He models citizenship through his years of public service as an elected official. He is serving his fifth term as a Washington County supervisor, and he is the Town of Jackson chair. Ray has represented UW-Extension during advocacy days at the capitol in Madison, and he has also attended the Public Issues in Leadership Development conference twice in Washington, D.C.

Ray also helped to build a secure future for Washington County 4-H programs by founding the annual fruit sale fundraiser, which brings in an average of $7,000 per year to support 4-H programming.

Ray demonstrates openness, honesty, and clarity of communication in all of his community involvement. He is well respected within 4-H as well as throughout Washington County. He is a proud father and grandfather, and he actively contributes time and talent to the community alongside his wife, Jan. Ray’s legacy continues as he still teaches woodworking to youth and now especially enjoys passing it on to his grandchildren who are in 4-H.

Sally Schoenike, Dodge County 4-H Youth Development Agent

As the Dodge County 4-H and Youth Development Agent for 32 years, Sally provided leadership for a comprehensive program involving community clubs, school enrichment, and community outreach initiatives annually involving 4,000-5,000 youth and 300-400 adult and youth volunteers. Her strong belief in youth as leaders and the importance of youth and adult partnerships has guided her work with volunteers to deliver an integrated youth development program, creating a positive impact on families and communities.

Sally is an innovative teacher who is well known for developing strong local club programs and effective outreach partnerships with other youth organizations. She has a special talent for meeting a variety of local needs, including school enrichment and special interest community programs.

Sally is a “go to” person in the community and on the state level. Her ever expanding scope of involvement is built on the concept of “we can do that!” She has invested tireless effort into building programs, is actively engaged professionally and personally in the community, and takes on numerous roles at the state level for the betterment of the Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development Program.

She continues to be actively involved in many community organizations, including serving as a 4-H leader at the club and state level. Building on her 10 year 4-H member experience, Sally has prided herself in setting a positive image for 4-H throughout her career and truly embodies the 4-H spirit.

Ruth Sutton, Price County 4-H Volunteer

Ruth Sutton has been a 4-H Volunteer in Price County for 65+ years. Ruth and her husband Don have made their home in the Town of Worcester outside of Phillips their entire married life. Together they have raised eight children which have blessed them with many grandchildren, great grandchildren.

Ruth served the Price County 4-H program in many capacities: parent, project leader, key leader, club leader, County Leaders Association Officer, and mentor. Ruth recently retired as the General Leader of the Big Elk Badgers where she served for decades.

Ruth is best known for her strong support of Home and Family projects where she helped many 4-H youth develop lifelong skills. Ruth was also very active in the Extension Home and Community Education Association serving as a club, county, regional and state officer. In HCE she was well known for her: cultural arts talents, “Stitches of Love” and “Raise a Reader” contributions.

Ruth is a true friend of the Price County Fair Association. She can still be found at the county fair day and night where she volunteers in the 4-H Dining Hall and as a Superintendent in the Exhibit Building. Ruth has helped to raise tens of thousands of dollars over the years to support both 4-H and the County Fair.  Ruth has been an active member of the Presbyterian Church serving many a dinner in the church basement.

Josephine Taylor Hawthorne, Walworth County 4-H Pioneer (In Memoriam)

In 1919, at the age of nine, Josephine Taylor’s father gave her a Shropshire ewe lamb which she showed at the local fair. In 1920, Josephine joined 4-H, took out a $50 loan to buy a purebred Poland China gilt, showing at the Walworth County Fair where she became the first girl to exhibit livestock, as well as win 1st prize, Grand Champion of the Junior Show, 1st in the Open Show, and 1st prize in Madison at the State Show. So began Josephine’s career as a 4-H competitor.

In her eleven years as a club member, Josephine completed 48 projects including pig, sheep, calf, canning, sewing, baking, gardening and Junior Leader. During this time she also received recognition for her 4-H work and attended state and national conferences.

In 1926, Josephine became the Junior Leader of the LaGrange Merry Maids club making her the first Junior Leader in Wisconsin. In 1931, the leader of the LaGrange boys club stepped down and Miss Josephine Taylor stepped up merging the clubs as LaGrange Live Wires in her first year as an Adult Leader.

During her 23 years of leadership, members of the LaGrange 4-H club achieved 100% completion of projects for 22 years. From 1936-1941, Josephine served as a County 4-H Leader, Assistant to the Walworth Agent.

In 1950 Josephine married William Hawthorne, another dedicated 4-H member with a passion for gardening. They had a successful business growing and selling flowers from their own greenhouse.

Charlotte Tetzlaff, Clark County 4-H Volunteer

Charlotte’s foundation is grounded in 4-H for over 50 years. She saw a need and filled it with her six children and the neighborhood kids. She retains her passion for 4-H through her continued connection with the Happy Valley 4-H club and County Leaders Federation. She volunteers her time with the Friends of the Fairgrounds Committee, and Economic Development groups that are overseen by the Clark County Tourism Board.

Charlotte shares her project fervor with new 4-H members, while honing her skills in creating clothing for newborns donating time and talent to the Ronald McDonald House, Hope House, and the Women’s Shelter in Central Wisconsin.

Furthermore, Charlotte continues her commitment to 4-H today, assisting in the review of record books, attending Fair Board meetings, and Leader Federation meetings.  Charlotte is exceptionally deserving of the 4-H Hall of Fame Recognition by using her hands for larger service.

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