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Washington State 4-H Inducts Six into Hall of Fame

PUYALLUP, Wash.—Six Washington residents were inducted into the Washington State 4-H Hall of Fame at the 4-H Forum in Everett, October 18.

They were recognized for their commitment and impact on 4-H and their communities and their leadership to 4-H over many years. Recognized this year was:

Bonita Elfstrom, Mt. Vernon, founded the first 4-H Dog Club in Skagit County in 1971. She remains the leader of the club and also offers vet science, photography, and leadership projects. Elfstrom served ten years as a guide-dog leader and has been Skagit County Leader of the Year twice as well as the Skagit County Dog Superintendent for 25 years at county fair.

Jean Swift, Burlington, began her involvement in 4-H in the 1950’s in Grays Harbor County and became active in Skagit County in the 1970’s as leader of a 4-H Home Economics Club. She was appointed to the State 4-H Fair Board where she served for over eight years. Swift also was the first Cat Project superintendent in the 1980’s. She developed a Judges Training Program for food exhibits and travels throughout the state to judge 4-H cat shows, as well as food and clothing contests and exhibits. Today, she remains the leader of a large community club that offers sixteen different projects.

Pat Pehling, Snohomish, has served as a volunteer with Snohomish County for over 38 years and has mentored or taught an estimated ten thousand people in 4-H. Pehling has been the equine program leader for decades and chairs the Equine Advisory committee. She has coordinated the State 4-H Horse Bowl for five years and also coordinates the State 4-H Horse judging contest. Pehling also co-authored the Washington State 4-H Horse Bowl Contest Rulebook and has received many county awards including Leader of the Year.

Tom and Ann Muchoney, Snohomish, have been 4-H volunteers for over 26 years. They lead a swine club in Snohomish. Ann has been the Snohomish County Swine Program leader for the last five years and Tom is the current Evergreen State Fair Swine Superintendent, a position he has held for 23 years. Tom and Ann have been active in the Snohomish County 4-H Council for over 20 years and Tom is currently Council President. They both have been recipients of the Snohomish County Leader of the Year awards and have received the prestigious Department of Agriculture “Black and White” award at fair multiple times.

Jan Hiller, Pullman, has devoted 58 years of leadership and support to 4-H Family and Consumer Science projects in Iowa and Washington as a 4-H member and a 4-H professional. As a Washington State 4-H Youth Development Specialist, Jan has led the Foods and Nutrition and Clothing and Textiles projects, as well as the WSU Extension Volunteer Development Program. Jan was part of the team that envisioned the Washington 4-H Council and provided leadership and direction for the State 4-H Forum, and the early organization of the 4-H Advisory Board. She was also instrumental in the development of a program to train volunteers as “middle managers” to enhance the outreach of 4-H programs and has worked on a number of state, regional, and national volunteer training curricula. Under Hiller’s leadership, Washington 4-H developed and implemented the first volunteer screening system in the nation. This program, which began in the late 1980’s, made criminal background checks mandatory for all potential volunteers.

More than 150 people have been inducted into the State 4-H Hall of Fame since its inception in 2001. The Washington State 4-H program is a community of young people who learn leadership, citizenship and life skills. Adult leaders and volunteers are vital to the success of the program. Youth can participate in project areas including animal science, Know Your Government Conference, cultural exchanges, Science Camp-In, technology, dramatic arts and photography.