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Hall of Fame 2015

Lewis County
Jim Hopman decided in 1973 that the community of Napavine should have a 4-H club .  He had been involved in 4-H as a youngster in his hometown, and wanted his three children to have the experiences that they could get by being involved with 4-H.  In October of 1973 the Napavine Go-Getters 4-H Club was born; during that year the membership of the club grew and the community of Napavine came to know what 4-H was all about.  The club was very active in the community and it continues to this day.

When it came time for the State 4-H Fair, Jim would make sure that as many youth from Lewis County could attend the State Fair as was possible.  He found campers and trailers for them to stay in and also made arrangements for the ones that just needed to go up to the fair for the day to give a demonstration or be in the Fashion Revue.  He worked tirelessly on making the 4-H experience one that the youth would remember with pride.  During his time with the 4-H program he held many of the county offices, including president of the County Leaders Council and served as a Trustee and on many committees.  He stayed busy helping out in any capacity that needed help.

While Jim was a 4-H leader, he encouraged the members to be the best that they could be and do the best job they could do with their projects.  His former 4-Hers have a soft spot in their hears for him and his “words of wisdom”.  Jim was active as Beef Superintendent and Large Animal Superintendent at the Southwest Washington Fair for many years.  His life was devoted to kids and agriculture; he worked for a farm store for years, where he had the opportunity to help with suggestions on feed for projects and answering questions on a variety of topics.  He also was a Large Animal Judge and judged at fairs and stock shows throughout the northwest.  Jim was still serving as Large Animal Superintendent at the time of his passing in 2007.

If you ask some 4-H parents to this day, they will tell you that they learned what they know about showing their animal from Jim Hopman, and that he was the best leader they ever had!  A former 4-Her said, “Mr. Hopman (was) an outstanding person and leader.  He wiped away many tears, shared many encouraging words, and built us up when we were feeling our lowest.”

Kittitas County
Mary Matthews was a Kittitas County 4-H member for eleven years before becoming a 4-H leader.  The 2014-2015 year marks Mary’s 56th year as a 4-H leader; combined with her member years, her commitment and support to 4-H stretches over nearly 70 years.  In that time, she has mentored and inspired many youth, more than she may even realize.

Mary Hutchinson Matthews began her eleven-year 4-H member career in 1944, involved in both livestock and home economics.  Her projects included beef, sheep, swine, dairy, clothing, and baking.  She quickly became a teen assistant leader, and held many offices in her clubs, was on judging teams, and competed in county and state competitions.  In her high school-4-H career, Mary received the Altrusa Award twice, recognizing her as an outstanding girl in agriculture and home economics in Kittitas County.

Staying true to her roots as a member, Mary added projects to her repertoire as a leader.  Through the years, these have included gardening, woodworking and natural resources.  Once her daughters were old enough, she created a home economics club that remained active through her oldest daughter’s 4-H experience.  Mary and her daughter created another home economics club when her granddaughter became old enough to join 4-H.  The Clover Rovers club remains active with Mary and her daughter at the helm.

Mary has been president of the 4-H Leaders Council three times, and has also served as vice-president.  At one time or another, she has been a member of every committee available, serving as chair for many of them.  She has been part of the committee to develop and administer volunteer leader training for many years.  Mary’s involvement in the demonstration contest and record book judging areas spans decades.  In 2006, the Mary Matthews Record Book award was created in Mary’s honor, awarded to two members of each age.  She was recognized in 2009 for 50 years’ service as a 4-H leader.

Mary’s involvement in the 4-H program has positively affected the entire community.  Her contributions have benefitted generations with lasting impact.

Skagit County
Sharrie Nelson is a selfless club leader, active community member, and a continual inspiration to those around her.  Throughout her time as a 4-H leader, she has touched many lives and inspired countless youth, continually striving to make the best better.  She has fulfilled many roles within 4-H, as a club leader, project coordinator, judge coordinator, fair superintendent, and active member of the Skagit County 4-H Leaders Council.

This year, Sharrie will be recognized for 35 years of service as leader of the Burlington-Edison Roadrunners 4-H Club, as well as 35 years of service to the Skagit County 4-H Leaders Council.  For several years, she has acted as Superintendent of the Skagit County Fair, as well as organization of involvement of 4-H youth in a variety of state-level projects and competitions.

Sharrie’s club is very active in the community, and volunteers year round in a number of service-based projects.  Each year, the club goes Christmas caroling at local retirement homes, organizes food drives, adopts families in need during the holidays, and assists other local 4-H families in times of need, whatever their club affiliation.  She is continually improving county policies and regulations to ensure the fair treatment and safety of all 4-H members.  Sharrie organizes members to speak at the annual Proclamation of National 4-H Week with Skagit County Commissioners, encouraging 4-Hers to learn more about their local representatives and providing opportunities to meet with them.  She is in charge of planning 4-H County Achievement Night, and ensures that everything runs smoothly at this event.

Sharrie recognizes the importance of leadership skills, and provides opportunities at both a club and county level to all members to encourage personal development.  Sharrie is fiercely loved and appreciated by her club and county, which is no surprise when considering the level of commitment that she has shown to the 4-H program.  Her tireless development of the Skagit County 4-H Program, active involvement in the community, and impact on the lives of countless 4-H youth make her a deserving candidate for induction into the 4-H Hall of Fame.

Whitman County
Dr. Michael Tate grew up in Detroit, Michigan.  As a very young boy in 1957, Mike encountered a 4-H summer outreach program directed to urban youth – Mike recalls his first 4-H experience as growing corn.  However, he remembers being disappointed that, unlike “Jack’s Beanstalk,” the corn did not grow miraculously overnight.

By 1972, Mike was a 4-H youth agent in Michigan.  His professional Extension career in support of youth continued to flourish as State 4-H Program Leader, State 4-H Director, and ultimately serving as the Interim Dean, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Director of Extension.  As State 4-H Director, Mike provided administrative and program leadership for the Michigan 4-H system, involving 200,000 youth, 25,000 volunteers, 170m campus and field-based educators, and many private supporters.  The state 4-H budget exceeded $8 million.

Mike came to WSU in 1998 to become the Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics (now called the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences) and Associate Director of Extension.  Two years later, he was named Director of Extension, and was eventually named Dean of Extension in 2000.

Recognizing Dr. Tate as a strong advocate for diversity, former SWU President V. Lane Rawlins asked him to serve as the Vice President for Equity and Diversity in 2004.  WSU President Elson S. Floyd expanded Mike’s role in 2007 by appointing him Vice President of Student Affairs.  Dr. Tate serves as a commissioner on the Governor’s Commission for African American Affairs, a position he has held since 2006.  Mike was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in 2014

Working with Mike has been life-changing for many.  He acknowledged the value of everyone’s contributions and created endless opportunities for those involved in Extension to reach high, develop, and achieve.  He prepared staff and volunteers to take on things they didn’t know were possible.  He would often state, “It’s time to take a risk” when rallying support for a new initiative.  He was excellent at tapping resources, and extensive in his reach, guided by youth development concepts and experiential learning,  He also made sure that 4-H had a “youth voice” at the local level through programming committees, design teams and task forces.

Washington State University Extension