Celebrate Extension leaders past & present

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By Maryellen Garrison

We would like to invite you to attend a special celebration to be held at Twin Oaks Assisted Living in New Castle, from 2-4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 23.  We will celebrate the many long time extension leaders that have provided leadership to the Henry County Extension Service over the years in the agriculture, 4-H, home economics and community development programs.

We will have some displays and photographs of programs over the years and will provide leaders with the chance to share a short memory of what they enjoyed the most in their extension activities.  If you have some items to display let us know or just bring them!  If you know of someone who was involved in extension programs in the past please be sure to invite them.  We are especially interested in recognizing those who have been involved for many years.

We will be providing light refreshments and if the weather is bad call the extension office at 845-2811 for a message about cancellation.  If the program is cancelled we will have a snow date of Jan. 30.
Here is a little historical view of what we are celebrating!  The Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service is an educational resource for all Kentuckians that serves as a catalyst to build better communities and improve quality of life. In 1862-President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act which established the Ag & Mechanical Colleges or land-grant universities.  Kentucky was granted 330,000 acres of land which was sold to establish the University of Kentucky as our Land-Grant University (later Kentucky State was established).  In 1914, the Smith Lever Act established the Cooperative Extension Service to disseminate research based information from the land grant institution. 

By 1920, 66 percent of counties in the U.S. had extension agents, but not Henry County! In 1924 J.C. Helburn who was President of the Eminence Chamber of Commerce decided we needed one and came up with a unique funding program to get the $600 needed to obtain an extension agent! The Chamber of Commerce put up $125, and the seven local banks we had at the time each put up $75 and the Fiscal Court agreed to hire an extension agent.

So in 1925 Carl Malone became our first Henry County Ag Agent. The local newspaper provided free office space for him and Carl started with a desk, a chair, and an orange crate for his files. He did demonstration plots, field days, radio, newspaper and educational movies at the four local movie theaters in the county! He did such a good job he got a $200 raise after the first year! Seven extension agents later in 1983 when Jim Prewitt retired, Steve Moore transferred from Henry County 4-H agent to Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

A few weeks ago I told the story of our first Home Demonstration Agent, Bina Foree, who was hired when Fiscal Court decided that an agent was a better investment than the stoker they needed for the courthouse! She organized a program that helped farm families make 700 mattresses from surplus cotton, organized 11 Homemaker Clubs and had a war time goal of having 100 jars of home canned food per family member!  And eight agents later in 1986, Maryellen Garrison transferred from Knox County as Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences.

In 1956, Wayne Sininger became our first 4-H Agent. Although 4-H began in 1925 with beef and clothing projects, our first 4-H Council was organized in 1940, 4-H nearly cancelled in 1941 due to the fear of polio, and Rotary was very active in assisting with early 4-H programs.  Ten agents later, Cathy Toole became our agent for 4-H Youth Development.

So come help us celebrate the programs that they people of Henry County have developed through Cooperative Extension from 2-4 p.m., on Sunday, Jan. 23, at Twin Oaks Assisted Living!

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.