Morlock receives state 4-H honor
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Farm Editor
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 09:41
In offices tucked away in a county building along South Dunbridge Road magic happens on a regular basis.
|Jenny Morlock at the OSU Extension office. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
The building houses the Ohio State University Extension office including the 4-H program. The staff works well together with Jenny Morlock recently recognized at the state level for her contributions.
"I'm passionate about 4-H," Morlock said. "It's made me who I am today."
The 4-H program assistant was named the 2013 Ohio recipient of the Achievement in Service Award by the state's chapter of the National Association of 4-H Extension Professionals.
Listing her credentials in the application to receive this award required two printed pages. Those who know her well, say even that doesn't fully express her value to the organization.
"This award says a lot about Jenny," said Jayne Roth, the county's 4-H Extension educator. "People across the state thought highly of her skills. They see what she does."
Roth added, "It's awesome, she is most deserving. They made a great choice."
Shane Vetter grew up in the 4-H program and has remained active in adulthood. He now serves on the 4-H committee.
Citing Morlock's "vitality and creativity," Vetter said, "Jenny has always been one to lend a helping hand in any way she can. She's a perfect go-to person."
Crediting both Morlock and Roth, Vetter said, "They have given me great leadership. I owe the people at that office so much, they were almost like a second set of parents raising me."
Vetter said there is not enough money to pay for what he learned from Morlock and the 4-H program.
"The influences and life lessons that you are taught when you are at that young age are so valuable," he added.
Both Roth and Vetter said Morlock is vital to the operation of the office and the county's 4-H program.
While Morlock knew she was nominated, she was shocked to hear about her win at the organization's state convention on Dec. 4.
"I was very honored and very surprised," she said. "It's really a thrill to be honored by your peers from across the state."
In addition to the file holder award, she will get to go to Minneapolis to the national convention, where she will represent Ohio.
"I am looking forward to that trip. It will be a great opportunity to see what's going on across the country," she said.
Come March, Morlock will have served 22 years in the office and she cherishes all of her experiences.
"Time has gone by so quickly and I have come to realize how blessed I am to be in Wood County," she said.
Like most 4-H leaders, Morlock began as a member, serving as president on the Junior Fair Board, as a volunteer leader and a camp counselor.
"I have lived every aspect of 4-H and helped in every position."
Of the four H's, she said she likes to focus on the "hands" to larger service.
Her hands are very busy as she has been involved in service with youth development, including service learning and teen programming, curriculum development and publications, notably with the "You Can Quilt" project book which is now in use statewide, and special product development.
This category of the word may have been the shining star in her application. Morlock was one of the movers and shakers of the Wood County 4-H Quilt Square Trail which officially debuted this past summer. She combined her love of quilting into various 4-H clubs who built their own wooden quilt square which are now prominently displayed on barns and other historic or notable buildings across the county.
"That trail has sparked more interest than I imagined," Morlock said.
She was also the lead organizer of the 4-H Bake-Off which is now an annual spectacular at the county fair. 4-H members and alumni and friends donate baked goods with some top culinary feasts fetching big dollars. In eight years more than $40,000 has been raised from the auctions to provide project books free of charge to members.
Morlock also heads the effort for the historical 4-H display at the Wood County Historical Museum.
She has served as one of the keynote presenters for the Kansas 4-H Staff In-service and previous winner of various awards.
Roth noted with pride that most of the other nominees across the state were extension educators, so Morlock's selection as a program assistant was significant.
Vetter said the collaboration and team effort displayed in the office produces "magic" all the time.
"That award really belongs to all of them," Morlock said.
"I really wouldn't be here without all the people, including the volunteers, the staff and all the 4-H members. This is a wonderful place to work."