The Colorado 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2011 to recognize 4-H alumni who have made significant contributions or accomplishments in their lives and attribute those accomplishments to their 4-H experience.
The 2012 4-H Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place in June at Colorado State University during the Colorado 4-H State Conference. The three newest members of the Colorado 4-H Hall of Fame each tell a story of the positive influences that 4-H has had on their lives.
Taking 4-H Life Skills to the Field of Dentistry
Arapahoe County 4-H Alumna
Jill Peterson, a dentist, was a 4-H member for more than 10 years in Arapahoe County. Her 4-H projects included foods and clothing. She represented Arapahoe County at the State Fair Fashion Revue three times where she placed in the top 10.
In April of 2002, Peterson purchased an existing endodontic practice in Arlington, Texas and named it Uptown Endodontics. Through her 4-H experience, Peterson learned teamwork and uses that leadership experience today to make her practice a great place to work for her staff of six dental professionals.
Peterson says the 4-H program and her 4-H leader Kathy McDaniel had a profound positive influence in her life.
4-H Leadership Skills: The Foundation to an Exemplary Military Career
Rio Blanco County 4-H Alumnus
Col. Tony Seely of Rio Blanco County participated in 4-H leadership opportunities, which sparked his passion for the U.S. Air Force and helped him gain acceptance into the Air Force Academy.
In the 90s, Seely flew the A-10 aircraft in Europe at the height of the Cold War and the F-117 Stealth Fighter at the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada. He was the right wing demonstration pilot for the Air Force Thunderbirds. He returned to the Air Force following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks where he worked at the Pentagon as chief of Reserve Fighter Requirements and led the Air Force Reserve Chief’s Action Group.
He finished his military career serving as the deputy director of Analysis and Assessments at the European Combatant Command in Stuttgart, Germany.
Seely served as the Colorado State 4-H president in 1981 and credits 4-H for many of his passions and talents. “With each position I’ve held in the Air Force, I’ve continued to grow and fine- tune the leadership skills that were built on the foundation of the skills I learned in 4-H,” he said.
From 4-H Life Skills to Live Saving Skills
Jefferson County 4-H Alumnus
Alexander Proft was a 17-year-old student at Green Mountain High School in Lakewood when he saved his father’s life with techniques he learned at the Jefferson County 4-H/American Red Cross Babysitter’s Training. In 2010, five years after he completed the 4-H babysitting training as a 12-year-old, Proft used the CPR techniques he learned to save his dad’s life when faced with a life threatening medical situation at their home.
“As teachers and leaders in 4-H, you hope your teaching is effective,” said instructor Connie Williams. “Alex put what he learned to great use that day and a miracle happened.”
Proft is a good example of how many young people involved in 4-H are not in organized clubs, but involved in short term or school enrichment programs. The skills he learned through this short-term 4-H training had a profound impact on his life and family.
Proft currently works with his family at their restaurant in Lakewood and he plans to pursue a career in art and sculpture.
4-H is a community of young people, across America, learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. Colorado 4-H is the youth-serving organization of Colorado State University. For more information visit www.colorado4h.org.