(11/29/2022) POLLOCK, La. — The Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame welcomed 12 new members to its ranks at a ceremony on Nov. 12.
The Hall of Fame has inducted 268 members since it started in 2008.
Toby Lepley, LSU AgCenter associate vice president and 4-H program leader, said the work and sacrifices of the dozen honorees adds up to thousands of hours of service to Louisiana 4-H youth.
“We have over 300 years’ worth of combined experience in this room with this year’s inductees,” Lepley said. “Think of the impact. Think of the number of young people that these people have had a positive and exciting relationship with as they served as 4-H mentors, volunteers or extension agents or administration. It is always a great honor for us to induct these individuals into the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame because it solidifies — not only the honorees, but also their legacies — with the 4-H program.”
Deidra Rideau, a 4-H leader in St. Landry Parish, said her nomination came as a surprise. “I am so honored and overwhelmed to receive this award. It was a very rewarding experience, working 30 years with 4-H.”
Natchitoches Parish 4-H Leader Laura Strahan said she plans on continuing her volunteer work with 4-H even after dedicating more than three decades of service to the program. “I am very honored and humbled. I have watched children grow, and prosper, through the 4-H program,” said Strahan.
4-H Shooting Sports volunteer Neal West, of Franklin Parish, said his years of service revolved around his family. “I am honored and humbled for this award,” West said. “I’d like to thank my wife for putting up with the living room being filled with shooting sports equipment over the years.”
Todd Tarifa, LSU AgCenter 4-H department head, said the 12 inductees were among 50 nominees that a statewide selection committee laboriously pored over.
“I cannot thank our 4-H staff and volunteers enough,” Tarifa said. “This is the highest honor to be bestowed upon 4-H staff and volunteers and we don’t take it lightly.”
The 2022 Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame inductees are listed below.
— Howard Cormier, Vermilion Parish.
— Colette Gravois, Assumption Parish.
— Betsy Jeansonne, Avoyelles Parish.
— Karen Leonards, Acadia Parish.
— Deidra Rideau, St. Landry Parish.
— Brenda Shope, Calcasieu Parish.
— Laura Strahan, Natchitoches Parish.
— Mark Tassin, Iberville Parish.
— Corrie Uze, St. Mary Parish.
— Judy Weisgerber, Vernon Parish.
— Neal West, Franklin Parish.
— David Wilson, East Baton Rouge Parish.
The 2022 4-H Hall of Fame class of inductees are, seated, from left, Deidra Rideau, of St. Landry Parish; Laura Strahan, Natchitoches Parish; Karen Leonards, Acadia Parish; Betsy Jeansonne, Avoyelles Parish; and Corrie Uze, St. Mary Parish. Back row, from left, Mark Tassin, Iberville Parish; Neal West, Franklin Parish; Judy Weisgerber, Vernon Parish; Colette Gravois, Assumption Parish; Brenda Shope, Calcasieu Parish; and Howard Cormier, Vermilion. Not pictured is David Wilson, East Baton Rouge Parish. Photo by Derek Albert/LSU AgCenter