Extension and Ag Research News


North Dakota 4-H Foundation honors Century Families and Hall of Fame inductee

The North Dakota 4-H Foundation honored one Hall of Fame inductee and five North Dakota 4-H Century Families recently.

The North Dakota 4-H Foundation recognized its 4-H Hall of Fame inductee and five North Dakota 4-H Century Families during its Awards and Donor Recognition Luncheon in Bismarck March 28.

“We’re glad to recognize these 2022 honorees after a December blizzard postponed this recognition,” said Deb Clarys, North Dakota 4-H Foundation chair from Center, North Dakota. “These honorees represent the best of long-term service to North Dakota 4-H.”

Dean Aakre, recently retired North Dakota 4-H activities coordinator, was inducted into the North Dakota 4-H Hall of Fame. The five 4-H Century Families honored were:

  • Dwight and Christina Dockter family, Stutsman County, 115 years of 4-H participation
  • Dennis and Linda Goltz family, Sargent and Traill counties, 145 years of 4-H participation
  • Ervin and Ruthann Helmuth family, Pierce County, 169 years of 4-H participation
  • Jason and Peggy Leiseth family, McKenzie County, 131 years of 4-H participation
  • Jason and Carrie Odenbach family, Stutsman County, 136 years of 4-H participation

Any family whose years as 4-H members, leaders and/or volunteers add up to 100 or more is eligible to be named a North Dakota 4-H Century Family.

The North Dakota 4-H Foundation’s 4-H Hall of Fame award recognizes an individual for their outstanding leadership and commitment to 4-H on a local, county, regional and state level.

Aakre retired as the 4-H youth development specialist last year. He joined NDSU Extension in Stutsman County as an assistant agent in 1983 and joined the state staff in 1987. Prior to that, he was a vocational agriculture teacher at Lisbon High School and Jamestown High school.

Nominator Karla Meikle succeeded Aakre as state 4-H activities coordinator and was once a 4-H’er working with him in Stutsman County. She said Aakre is especially known and appreciated for his work at fairs.

“Even then (in Stutsman County), it was difficult to pin him down and ask a question, as he was everywhere on the fairgrounds, meeting new families, working with youth and ensuring a smooth-running 4-H Achievement Days,” Meikle said. “I know this, as I was one of those 4-H members he assisted.

“Dean has taught many youth about agriculture and worked with many crops, range and livestock contests,” Meikle said. “The North Dakota State Fair 4-H program would not have happened for the last 30-plus years without Dean’s hand in ensuring all youth were taken care of and able to highlight their 4-H exhibits. He had a great rapport with everyone he came in contact with at the fair.”

Meikle said Aakre also shared his knowledge of parliamentary procedure and other topics, and he was always organized, patient and even-tempered.

NDSU Agriculture Communication – April 11, 2023

Source: Penny Dale, 701-231-8569, penny.dale@ndsu.edu

Editor: Elizabeth Cronin, 701-231-7881, elizabeth.cronin@ndsu.edu

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