(By Nick Schneider) [Order this photo]
Charles Parton, of rural Springville, accepted a special Friend of the Extension Service Award on behalf of his wife, Esther, who passed away in July at the age of 90.
In 1967, the Partons and a group of 368 other private citizens put up $25 each to raise the $9,250 in cash needed to purchase the 30-acre site that is now the Greene County Fairgrounds, near Switz City.
(By Nick Schneider) [Order this photo]
The next year, the first barn was constructed, followed by the building of other barns and the Extension Office as well as the adding of other 4-H clubs.
It was the beginning of the Greene County Horse and Pony 4-H Club, the first sanctioned 4-H club that was organized in the county, according to 4-H Clubs of Greene County President Lori Brown, who presented the award.
The Partons, who operated the Bar P Ranch for decades, helped create the Greene County Horse and Pony Club.
Presently, there are six community 4-H Clubs and 22 special interest clubs in the county serving more than 600 youth in grades 3 through 12.
Esther Parton lost her battle with lung cancer on July 10.
Brown, prior to presenting the framed award to Charles Parton, asked the crowd to spend a moment of silence in Esther Parton's memory.
Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC was also bestowed a "Friend of the Greene County Extension Service" award for its continued financial support and sponsorship of programs.
Darla Truelove accepted the award presented by Greene County Extension Service Educator for Agriculture and Economic Development Lindy Miller.
"One of the things that we depend on is sponsorship for our programs. Last year, we had a sponsor step up and they do everything out here anyway, but we decided to come with an award that's kind of a recognition. It's a friend of Extension in Greene County. I want to do this recognition for UDWI-REMC because Darla (Truelove) did a yeoman's job with helping us with ag programs last year. I can't even enumerate all of the programs that she helped us work with and was just happy to do so with a great attitude and a positive role modeling manner," Miller stated as a prelude to presenting the award. "We really appreciate the support and everything that REMC does for not only Extension, but the fairgrounds and the whole partnership."
Miller explained the Extension Service is an United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program that is operated through the state's land grant college, Purdue University.
Each of the state's 92 counties maintain an Extension Service office and the level of local support varies among counties.
Miller noted that the overall goal of Extension and its team of educators is to "do whatever it takes to bring the university (services) to the county."
Attendees also heard from Extension Educator Polly Gettinger, who is in charge of the Health and Family Services, and Extension Educator Malea Huffman, who heads the 4-H program and youth development.
Gettinger works with the Extension Homemaker clubs, family nutrition program, the Community Health Engagement Program, Greene County Alliance for Networking and Growth and the Southwest Indiana Meth Alliance. She also teaches family resource management class in nine counties.
Huffman outlined her efforts in the 4-H and school enrichment programs.
She has a goal to help establish a county-wide robotics team for school-aged youngsters in the coming year.
During the business portion of the dinner/meeting, the following slate of Extension Board members were elected: Sam Zuckschwerdt, Stephanie Gadberry, Sara Green, Jim Helms, Chris Cornelius, Stephanie Arthur, Susan Sachtjen, Walt Mattox, and Jerry Murdock.
The county commissioners and county council also each have an appointee ---- yet to be named ---- who will serve one-year terms.
The Extension Board oversees program planning, implementation, and evaluation.