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ISLAND CITY — Union County’s 4-H leader of the year is no stranger to service.
4-H Leader Ken Patterson was honored as leader of the year at the recent 2009 4-H Recognition Dinner. - Photos/TRISH YERGES
Ken Patterson, who was named the leader of the year at the recent 2009 4-H Recognition Dinner at the Ag Service Center, has been involved in numerous aspects of 4-H since becoming a leader 15 years ago.
The 4-H leader of the year award is given to a member who inspires others to greater personal achievements and does so by example.
“He just gives of his time and is always willing to help out,” said 4-H Program Assistant Honour Bowen.
Patterson was nominated for the honor by 4-H leader Sherry Nantz of Imbler. She presented Patterson with the award at the dinner.
“This year’s Union County leader of the year exemplifies the word leader,” said Nantz. “This person gives of himself so frequently that his family must follow along just to have time with him.”
Patterson has given in nearly all directions of the 4-H organization as well as to his family and friends.
Senior 4-H Ambassador Robert Partridge welcomed the audience to the 2009 4-H Recognition Dinner, where Ken Patterson was honored as leader of the year.
“He’s helped 4-Hers and adults with everything from livestock to record books and small animals to 4-H camp,” Nantz said.
Patterson has been a 4-H leader for 15 years and a 4-H camp adviser for nearly as long. He has also been a nine-year member of the Blue Mountain 4-H Center, where he serves as treasurer and the go-to man when something needs repair.
He said he’s enjoyed every minute of his 4-H involvement.
“I just want to make sure that 4-H remains a strong program,” Patterson said. “It’s fun work.”
Among his fun duties is overseeing the campers and waking them every morning with the sound of various kitchen utensils. He also sings for his food right along with the kids at meal time.
4-H leader Sherry Nantz, who has 28 years of service in 4-H behind her, addresses the audience about Ken Pattersonâ€™s qualifications as as leader of the year.
The kids also love his small animal club that includes ducks, chickens and guinea pigs.
“This club hosts very successful rabbit shows that draw exhibitors from far and wide,” said Nantz. “They also ready the small animal area at the Union County Fair, saving the fair board time in doing so.”
Patterson is the superintendent of the sheep show at the fair and organizer of the “Older than Dirt” contest at the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show. He’s a member of the county Extension Advisory Council, chairman of the county record book committee and a member of the Oregon State Recognition Committee that selects the National 4-H Congress scholarships and National 4-H Congress delegates.
When it comes to volunteerism, Patterson willingly rolls up his sleeves. He is a chaperone for the 4-H summer conference, helps at state fair, lends a hand with the Lil Rascals 4-H livestock club and mans the phone at the annual 4-H Radio Auction fundraiser.
“Just a few months ago, he also decided to become an adviser for the newly formed New York Exchange program,” said Nantz. “He and his wife, Aimee, hosted two of the exchange students at their home along with their three children.”
Patterson’s contributions to Union County’s 4-H organization have been numerous.
“We have all benefitted from his generosity of care and time,” said Nantz.