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Daily Journal
     August 21, 2020      #64-234 KDJ
Gary Kohl

Herscher man receives 4-H Hall of Fame award 

Daily Journal Staff Report

The Illinois 4-H Foundation annually honors longtime volunteers and former staff members for their selfless dedication to 4-H, the University of Illinois Extension youth development program.

This year, 86 individuals received the Foundation Hall of Fame Award during a virtual ceremony on Aug. 18. Five of the honorees were named posthumously.

For Kankakee County, Gary Kohl of Herscher was selected to receive the award for his service to 4-H. Kohl has a long history with the University of Illinois Extension serving Kankakee County for 23 years. Retiring in August 2017, he served on the Youth Program Committee, 4-H Livestock Auction Committee, 4-H Ag Committee and was the 4-H Swine Superintendent.

He was a tireless volunteer for the 4-H youth. He can still be seen supporting 4-H and encouraging his grandchildren with their 4-H projects.

“We celebrate Gary’s contribution to Kankakee County 4-H,” said Megan Walsh, extension county director.

Other area hall of fame winners are Donna Cockream in Grundy County, Larry Haigh of Iroquois County, Gail and the late Ellen Rapp of Livingston County and Nancy Kuhajda of Will County.

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. Each inductee receives a commemorative Hall of Fame medallion.

“These volunteers fully embody what 4-H strives to instill in youth,” said Angie Barnard, Illinois 4-H Foundation executive director. “They are caring, dedicated, generous leaders, and 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 200,000 youth each year through 4-H clubs, camps, educational programs, workshops, and conferences held in communities, schools, parks, and homes across Illinois. In total, more than 15,000 volunteers fill key leadership and mentoring roles.

“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.”

Want to volunteer?

“There is a place for everyone in 4-H, whether you have an hour or a lifetime to give,” says Angie Barnard, Illinois 4-H Foundation executive director.

To volunteer with the Kankakee County 4-H program, request information from the local Extension office located at 1650 Commerce Drive, Bourbonnais. You can reach them by phone by calling 815-933-8337. 

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