Timnath Resident Inducted into National 4-H Hall of Fame

Raleigh Brooks of Timnath, Colo., was recently inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame for his lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H. Honored by the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA), he was one of 15 people inducted during the ceremony held earlier this month at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.

Brooks has been actively involved with youth and agriculture in Colorado since his academic days at Colorado State University. He graduated from CSU in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal husbandry. Brooks later returned to CSU for coursework on artificial insemination to use on the ranch for herd improvement. He managed an 18,000 acre ranch/irrigated farm with 500 Black Angus cattle, raising his own feed and operating his own feed lot. Brooks showed many of these cattle at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, one of the largest stock shows in the nation.

In 1956, Brooks became the agricultural and 4-H agent in Pueblo County, a position he held until 1961, when he was asked to serve as assistant state 4-H leader on campus. This required a move to Fort Collins and later to the nearby rural community of Timnath where he still lives today. Brooks earned a master of science in Education in 1968, with his thesis titled, “Learning Climate For 4-H.” He was appointed State 4-H Leader in 1980 and served in that position until his retirement in 1988.

“The National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) is proud to acknowledge the outstanding 2011 National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees for the passion, dedication, vision and leadership they’ve shown toward our young people during their many years of service to 4-H,” said Lori Purcell-Bledsoe, president of NAE4-HA.

National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees are nominated by their home states, National 4-H Council, National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, or 4-H Headquarters based upon their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national and international levels.

Promoting 4-H in Colorado has been a life-long passion for Brooks. “What we’ve tried to do with 4-H since its inception is to take the information out of the land-grant system and to provide an opportunity for youth to explore in real life what that means, whether it’s a livestock program or an aerospace program,” Brooks said. “Our curriculum delivers the latest technology coming out of the university and matches that with the needs of our population, both youth and their parents. We’re more and more on the cutting edge with youth that are most vulnerable.”

Previous Colorado residents inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame included Cecil Staver from Fort Collins and Montrose, and Paul Hoshiko from Greeley.

The honorees were presented with National 4-H Hall of Fame Medallion, plaque and memory book during the Oct. 7 ceremony. At the presentation, Brooks said, “I am pleased to have had the opportunity to have been a 4-H member myself. It helped me to grow to a point where I could apply the skills and knowledge I have learned and to benefit and serve others during my career in county, state and national program roles.”

Brooks’ other significant honors related to 4-H include:

• 1958 Pueblo newspaper, “Page One Award”
• 1958 Champion Agent Livestock Judge
• 1978 F. A. Anderson Award as outstanding CSU campus-based Extension professional
• 1992 Honorary Trustee with the Colorado 4-H Foundation
• 2000 Colorado 4-H Foundation Honors Recognition

Since retiring, Brooks has continued to be an active participant in his community, developing a large community garden on his own property. He and his wife Edith have been active members at the Timnath Presbyterian Church and both sing in the choir.

The National 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2002 as part of the Centennial Project of the NAE4-HA, and partners with National 4-H Council and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA. For more information about the National 4-H Hall of Fame event and past recipients, visit www.nae4ha.com/hof.

For more information, contact Dale Leidheiser, extension specialist, 4-H Youth Development, at (970) 491-7881 or dale.leidheiser@colostate.edu.