Extraordinary volunteers inducted into Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame

Bureau, LaSalle and Marshall county residents among honorees


OGLESBY - This year’s 4-H Hall of Fame winners from the Bureau, LaSalle, Marshall, Putnam Unit include Jill Frueh, Bureau County Open Door Community Club in Bureau County; Heather Arbet, Peru Pouncing Panthers Community Club in LaSalle County; and Lisa M. Palm, Wenona Highlighters Community Club in Marshall County.

Longtime 4-H volunteers and former staff members were recently honored by the Illinois 4-H Foundation for their selfless dedication to the University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development program. 4-H relies on more than 15,000 volunteers to fill key leadership and mentoring roles, and these volunteers step up to empower and prepare youth for success.

In 2021, 71 individuals received the Foundation Hall of Fame Award, which were presented during a virtual ceremony on Aug. 17. Four of the honorees were named posthumously.

The Illinois 4-H Foundation established the statewide Hall of Fame in 2005 to honor and celebrate extraordinary 4-H alumni, volunteers, and former 4-H staff. Those inducted have a track record of exemplary service to 4-H or outstanding career and community achievement and were nominated by either county University of Illinois Extension staff or by the Illinois 4-H Foundation Board. Each inductee receives a commemorative Hall of Fame medallion.

“These volunteers are a model of 4-H values,” said Angie Barnard, Illinois 4-H Foundation executive director. “All of our volunteers are valuable, but this award honors those that go above and beyond. These are volunteers that helped shape not only individuals but generations of 4-H members. The Illinois 4-H Foundation is extremely proud to be able to provide this honor to thank them for their service to this wonderful organization.

Illinois 4-H programs reach nearly 120,000 youth each year through 4-H clubs, camps, educational programs, workshops, and conferences held in communities, schools, parks, and homes across Illinois. Volunteers fill key leadership and mentoring roles throughout the state.

“Many volunteers have a tradition of 4-H in their family or were 4-H members themselves,” Barnard said. “More and more though, adults brand new to the 4-H experience are seeing the value of the life skills development program and volunteering for the first time. 4-H has volunteer opportunities that fit such a wide variety of time, skills and talents.”

To volunteer in your community, request information from the local Extension office. In Bureau County, contact Danielle Gapinski at (815) 875-2878 or e-mail des85@illinois.edu. In LaSalle County, contact Toni Pienta at (815) 433-0707 or e-mail fusinatt@illinois.edu. For Marshall-Putnam, contact Anne Scheel at (309) 364-2356 or e-mail amscheel@illinois.edu.

“There is a place for everyone in 4-H, whether you have an hour or a lifetime to give,” Barnard said.

The Foundation also provides avenues to support the work of Illinois 4-H by accepting financial gifts specifically directed to the program someone wishes to support. Barnard said gift planning services are available to those wishing to continue their 4-H legacy.

The Illinois 4-H Foundation raises private funds that are invested in Illinois 4-H programs to provide meaningful, positive development experiences for Illinois youth to develop leadership, citizenship and life skills. To learn more, visit 4hfoundation.illinois.edu.