The Illinois 4-H Foundation annually recognizes 4-H volunteers for exemplary service to the Illinois 4-H program. This year, Kendall County resident and 4-H alum Diane Morris of Big Rock joins the Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame with nearly 40 years of service.
Morris has served as a longtime Kendall County 4-H club leader and as president of the Northern Illinois 4-H Camp Association, as well as secretary, treasurer and, currently, executive director of the Kendall County 4-H Foundation. She also has been honored with the 4-H Alumni award from Kendall County and the Larry Fischer Leadership Spirit Award.
In addition, Morris is instrumental in the annual pork chop fundraiser – sponsored by the local Friends of Extension and 4-H Foundation groups. Each year, the event brings in more than $5,000 for University of Illinois Extension of Kendall County, and during the last two years, the event topped $7,000.
“Under her leadership, the 4-H Foundation held its largest ever fundraising event and built Smith 4-H Hall on the Kendall County Fairgrounds in 1996,” said Kim Eisnaugle, 4-H program coordinator in Kendall County. “For decades, Diane has been a dedicated, driven volunteer, supporting Kendall County 4-H and Illinois 4-H, and inspiring others to do the same. She truly has impacted thousands of youth through her work at the local, regional and state levels.”
Morris was one of 71 new members inducted into the Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame during a celebration Aug. 12 at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Illinois 4-H celebrates the 13-year anniversary of the Hall of Fame award, said Angie Barnard, executive director of the Illinois 4-H Foundation.
“These longtime volunteers fully embody what 4-H strives to instill in youth,” Barnard said. “They are caring, dedicated, generous leaders, and the Illinois 4-H Foundation is extremely proud to be able to provide this honor to each and every one of them to thank them for their service to this wonderful organization.”
The Illinois 4-H Foundation established the statewide Hall of Fame in 2004 to honor and celebrate extraordinary 4-H alumni, volunteers, and former 4-H staff. Each inductee received a commemorative Hall of Fame medallion.
“As a result of these volunteers’ years of service and leadership to Illinois 4-H,” Barnard said, “the program they love will continue to create wonderful opportunities for the young people whose lives it touches.”
To learn more about the 4-H Foundation, visit 4hfoundation.illinois.edu.