LOCKPORT – A Gasport family chosen as the 4-H “Family of the Year” was among those recently honored by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County for its work and dedication to making a difference in the community.
The family award went to Darlene Cooner and her husband, John, and their daughters, Kristina, Heather and Rebecca. Darlene Cooner has been a 4-H leader for more than 12 years, and her family has been instrumental in building the successful program for rabbits and cavies, a small guinea piglike animal.
Each year, the 4-H Family of the Year award is presented in honor and memory of John A. Hall; his wife, Lorraine; and his daughter, Betty, for their leadership and dedication.
The Cooners were honored for their dedication to the program, which has grown by “leaps and bounds,” with 100 participants or more in some years. They are also willing to help wherever they can, especially in the Milk Bar during the Niagara County Fair, according to cooperative extension.
Here are the other honorees:
• The Gertrude Warren Leadership Award was presented to Linda Harvey, a sixth-grade teacher at Lewiston-Porter Middle School, who has volunteered countless hours as a Niagara County Fair judge. She started as a young girl and became a leader in 1983 of the Frontiersmen and later the Tri-Town Clan. She recently completed her 36th year as a volunteer and club leader. She is also secretary for the Collins Draft Horse Club, New York State Heiflingers Association and Western New York Horse Council. Her favorite hobby is raising and milking her goats. The award is given to a volunteer who has been involved for more than five years.
• The Czelusta Family Leadership Award, presented to a leader who has been a volunteer for five years or less, went to Nicole Clapsadle, of North Tonawanda, who is the leader of the Little Ponies Cloverbud Club. She is a previous 4-H’er who has remained enthusiastic, teaching her members about science, arts and crafts, natural resources and citizenship.
• The Walker Junior Leadership Award, given in memory of Raymond R. and Marjorie E. Walker to recognize the importance of leadership among 4-H’ers, went to Christopher Sweeney, 16, of Appleton. He has a passion for agriculture and has taken leadership roles in a number of farm-related associations. He was also elected vice president of his class at Barker High School and was Niagara County royalty at the Niagara County Fair pageant.
• The Masonic Citizenship Award was presented to Kayla Clark, 18, of Lockport, a 4-H member who donated to Locks of Love six times, planted flowers along Main Street in Newfane, played taps for a Memorial Day ceremony, participated in Clean the Park Day at Golden Hill State Park in the Town of Somerset and had her dog registered as a service dog.
• The employee recognition award was given to administrative assistant Darlene Farnham, who has been employed by Cornell Cooperative Extension for the past 25 years.