The Illinois 4-H Key Award emphasizes community service and mentorship by 4-H members throughout their 4-H career. Thirteen 4-H teens were honored as the 2016 award recipients at a ceremony Nov. 19 in Champaign. The award is sponsored by the H. Richard and Sarah F. McFarland Endowed 4-H Youth Leadership and Character Development Support Fund through the Illinois 4-H Foundation.
Richard McFarland knows the value of hard work, scholarship, and service to others. A 4-H and University of Illinois alum, McFarland has experienced tremendous success in the food industry, agriculture, and real estate; and he has shared the fruits of that success with the organizations he treasures, said Angie Barnard, Illinois 4-H Foundation Executive Director.
A past chairman of the U of I Foundation Board, McFarland pledged $1 million for the McFarland Student Alumni Center in the ACES Library on campus, in addition to $1.5 million to construct the McFarland Memorial Bell Tower which stands on the campus’ South Quad.
Each year, he honors 4-H members who exemplify the traits he admires. This year’s winners include Austin Brockmann of Boone County, Natalie Carlson of Ogle County, Drew Groezinger of JoDaviess County, Katlyn Helton of Logan County, Kyle Hubb of JoDaviess County, Jacob Hubele of White County, Josephine Hubele of White County, Justene Jennings of DeKalb County, Calista Kern-Lyons of Lee County, Abigail Mongan of Ogle County, Zachary Perkins of Kendall County, Brandi Welch of Mercer County, and Courtney Wiedenmann of Mercer County.
Austin Brockmann is the 17-year-old son of Vicky and Gary Brockmann of Garden Prairie.He is a 10-year member of the County Clovers 4-H Club. As a 4-H Science Ambassador, he promotes STEM activities to youth.
Natalie Carlson is the 18-year-old daughter of Julie and Jason Carlson of Byron. She is a 10-year member of the By-Y Badgers 4-H Club. She volunteers as coach and mentor at the park district where she stresses teamwork, respect, and sportsmanship.
Drew Groezinger is the 18-year-old son of Pennie and Daryl Groezinger of Stockton. He is entering his 11th year as a member of the Chelsea Busy Bees 4-H Club. He was a member of the Illinois 4-H Poultry Judging Team.
Katlyn Helton is the 17-year-old daughter of Kristen and Ron Helton of Middletown. She is a 10-year member of the Middletown 4-Hers and is a 4-H Teen Teacher for the county’s Cloverbud camp and the Jr. Chef nutrition program.
Kyle Hubb is the 19-year-old son of Leisa and Larry Hubb of Stockton and an 11-year member of the Chelsea Busy Bees 4-H Club. His project work focuses on agriculture. He played a key role in collecting supplies for families devastated in the tornado which hit Washington, Ill.
Jacob Hubele is the 19-year-old son of Rachelle and John Hubele of Carmi where he completed 11 years as a member of the Mad Hatters 4-H Club. He has served as a 4-H Teen Teacher for the Carmi Cloverbud Club and a member of the Shooting Sports special interest club.
Josephine Hubele is the 18-year-old daughter of Rachelle and John Hubele of Carmi where she is entering her 10th year of membership in the Mad Hatters 4-H Club. She actively assists as a 4-H Teen Teacher for the Cloverbud club and was the youth leader of a knitting special interest 4-H club.
Justene Jennings is the 18-year-old daughter of Johnna and Dan Jennings of DeKalb. She has completed 10 years in 4-H as a member of the Green Meadows 4-H Club. She is a 4-H Ambassador and served on both the Illinois 4-H State Leadership Team and the Illinois 4-H Livestock Ambassador Team.
Calista Kern-Lyons is the 19-year-old daughter of Valerie and David Kern-Lyons of Amboy. She is a 10-year member of the Maytown Comets 4-H Club. Her community service efforts benefit the local school, nursing homes, animal shelters, homeless shelters, and a local roadside memorial.
Abigail Mongan is the 18-year-old daughter of Jean and Dan Mongan of Oregon. She is in her 11th year of 4-H and is a member of the Carefree 4-H Club. She mentors youth in the rabbit project and uses her skill in the clothing project in service to the Serenity Hospice and Home in Ogle County.
Zachary Perkins is the 17-year-old son of Tina and Michael Perkins of Millbrook. He is a 10-year member of the Millbrook Mighty Ones 4-H Club. He exhibits swine across the country.
Brandi Welch is the 18-year-old daughter of Kerri and James Welch of Aledo. She is in her eighth year as a member of the Kimel 4-H Club and also has membership in both the county horse bowl, Hippology, and dog clubs. She studies water quality as a member of the local 4-H Citizen Science Club.
Courtney Wiedenmann is the 18-year-old daughter of Barb and Jeff Wiedenmann of Coal Valley. She is entering her 11th year as a member of the Sherrard 4-H Club and a member of the horse bowl and Hippology clubs.
KEY AWARD: The Key Award recognizes youth leaders who mentor and serve their community. The award was presented at a ceremony held Saturday, Nov. 19 in Champaign. Presenting the award on behalf of the H. Richard and Sarah F. McFarland Endowed 4-H Youth Leadership and Character Development Support Fund was Richard McFarland (front, right). Pictured with McFarland are (front, left to right) Brandi Welch, Katlyn Helton, Abigail Mongan, Natalie Carlson, and Justene Jennings; (back) Courtney Wiedenmann, Zachary Perkins, Kyle Hubb, Drew Groezinger, and Josephine Hubele. Not pictured are Austin Brockmann, Jacob Hubele, and Calista Kern-Lyons.