County 4-H honors its volunteers and donors PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Saturday, 07 December 2013 09:43
Honorary 4-H membership was bestowed Thursday night on Betty Wenig (left) and Conni Grames. (Photos provided by Wood County 4-H)
PEMBERVILLE - The Wood County 4-H held its annual Volunteer and Donor Banquet on Thursday evening at the Riverview Banquet Center, Pemberville.
Throughout the evening numerous individuals and companies were recognized for their contributions to the 4-H organization in the county.
Connie Grames and Betty Wenig were recognized with Honorary 4-H Awards, what officials consider  the highest 4-H award bestowed in Wood County. The organization also bestowed four members of the "Save the Milkshake Barn Crew" with "The 5th H" award.
Also presented were several outstanding service awards as well as volunteer spirit awards.
According to her introduction, Grames has dedicated two decades to making the county horse program excellent She has been an adviser for the Sunset Saddlers club and serves a member of the Senior Fair Board. She also involves the Junior Fair Board members in all aspects of the fair including decision making.
Organizers note that Wenig "is no ordinary volunteer." With this award they recognized her dedication to the program, calling her a "true advocate for the 4-H program and Extension."She was active as an adviser, with her husband Morris, in the 1970s and '80s for the Green Meadows 4-H Club, along with another couple. Her introduction noted her "most noted involvement" includes more than three decades of supporting OSU Extension and 4-H at legislative events through the OSU Extension Advisory Committee. Wenig made dozens of trips to the state house in Columbus and throughout Northwest Ohio to share her story, lobbying for funding.
The "Barn Crew" members recognized with "The 5th H" were Matt Henry, Aaron Holleran, Andrew Kramp and Shane Vetter.
Collectively called "The Boys," by some in the 4-H organization, these younger men are credited with having "given life to the Milkshake Barn over the past decade."
The barn is a staple at the county fair and tractor pulls, providing a major source of funding for the organization.
Three of the four members of ‘Save the 4-H Milkshake Barn Crew,’ recipients of the 5th H award are (from left) Andrew Kramp, Shane Vetter and Aaron Holleran.
4-H officials say they collectively have built it, renovated it, and now air conditioned the building.
The men have used their skills and talents in plumbing, woodworking, construction, concrete and air conditioning, which collectively has saved thousands of contracted dollars for the organization by keeping the Milkshake Barn in good working order. Each one is also a camp volunteer and members of the 4-H Committee.
Speaking of the Milkshake Barn, the organization also recognized the donors to the aforementioned air conditioning project donors with one of the Outstanding Service to 4-H awards.
The individuals and businesses recognized for their giving toward the project. Those recognized were Downey Plumbing and Heating, Shawn, Drew and Travis Downey; Gearhart Plumbing, Heating and Cooling; Dunipace Builders, Mike Dunipace; and Fred Vetter, the project manager. It was also noted how Dunipace was instrumental in getting many of the Quilt Squares hung on barns and buildings  throughout Wood County this year.
Also recognized with service awards were State Farm Insurance and David Hardy for his effort in obtaining the grant which helped get the 4-H CarTeens program up and running. Since that initial grant, State Farm Insurance has granted $3,000 to the program.
The third service award was presented to Dr. Bob Horton for his OSU Extension work on the county and State level for nearly 35 years. He is a 4-H State Specialist who has continued to design programs that are used by 4-H professionals in Ohio and nationally, including his STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Math) programs.
Also receiving a service award was the county's auditor, Michael Sibberson. He is an alumni of the 4-H program and credited with being a "tremendous supporter of the program financially."  He has sponsored numerous camp scholarships and has judged the Bake-off contest at the fair.
The final service award was presented to Tom Stange, owner of C&L Sanitation and SAFE-WAY Barricades. The introduction credits him with having "a soft spot for the Wood County 4-H program." For the past few years Stange's companies have given thousands of dollars to the 4-H youth of Wood County.  
Three people were recognized with the 4-H Volunteer Spirit Award for those who have served five years and under. These awards were presented in memory of Marie and Norm Fredrich.
Recipients were Beth Crum and Desirae Bechstein-Belleville, from the 4-Leaf Clover Kids; Andrew Wilhelm, an adviser for the Leaders of Tomorrow 4-H Club; and Penny Parker for her ability to boost membership in the Black Swamp Trailblazers club.

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