Pickard inducted into 4-H Hall of FameVeteran volunteer recognized for work with Clover Kids
Eileen Pickard could barely see through her own tears of joy. After nearly 30 years of volunteering, her day finally arrived.
“It’s something that I really wanted, but it’s not something that you can apply for – people have to vote for you,” Pickard said. “Each year when they would announce who got it, I was very happy for them… I’d think, ‘Maybe next year’s my turn.’”
On June 25, due to her volunteer efforts with 4-H’s Fairfield Clover Kids, Pickard discovered that she was Jefferson County’s 2014 nominee for Iowa’s 4-H Hall of Fame.
Clover Kid’s co-leaders Sherri Mineart and Cora Beltramea announced the news at the Jefferson County Fair Queen competition.
“We can always count on her to help us with Fairfield Clover Kids,” Mineart said. “She’s the smiling face you see as you arrive for our meetings — she loves to help with our projects, games and snacks.”
But Pickard was stunned at the announcement.
“I had many tears to wipe,” she said. “It was a pretty emotional night.”
Her daughter, Heidi Pickard, concealed the secret from her for two months.
“My daughter just told me they were going to do something special for my granddaughter. I was totally unaware until they mentioned Busy B’s 4-H Club,” Pickard said. “Then they mentioned Wapello and I think I must have been about the only person there from that town.”
Pickard started out in the 4-H Program when she was 9-years-old. She remained active in the club until she was 19. She took a brief intermission for a few years before enrolling her own children. She’s remained involved in some capacity ever since—even starting her own club with a group of several other women in her community 20 years ago.
“The club was called ‘The Dynamics,’” she said. “I felt that every kid should have a chance at all the offices … they should be able to do whatever they were interested in.”
She added that her own children benefitted greatly from their involvement with the program.
“4-H was a great opportunity for us and it opened our eyes to a lot of experiences,” Heidi Pickard said. “My mom was a big part in that—she was a great role model always there to back us up and be a big encouragement and support.”
Pickard received her 25-year pin a few years ago and she’s excitedly approaching the 30-year-old mark.
“I’ve seen a lot of great kids though the years,” she said.
Now, she volunteers with her 9-year-old granddaughter.
“I’ve had this brief moment with my granddaughter; she tagged along with me with the Clovers. But she’s 9 now and will be in a regular club this fall ... but I will definitely keep working with Clover Kids,” she said.