Story and photo by Patricia Beech –
Donald and Janice McCarty of West Union have been chosen as the recipients of the 2017 4-H Alumni Award for their dedication and support of 4-H in Adams County.
The award was presented to the couple during the Opening Ceremonies of the 126th Adams County Fair on Sunday, July 9.
The McCarty’s, who share about 110 years of combined 4-H involvement, say they were surprised when they learned they had been chosen to receive the award.
“We’ve put a lot of years into 4-H and they’ve been good years,” said Mr. McCarty. “We wouldn’t want to take any of them back.”
Donald McCarty became a 4-H member in 1957 when he was eight years old. He joined the Tiffin Tots and Teens 4-H Club and chose livestock as his project. He also became a member of the Adams County Beef Club, and later spent three years as an FFA member.
Janice McCarty began her 4-H experience in 1966 as a member of the Seaman Willing Worker 4-H Club. She was 13 years old at the time and three years later she represented Adams County at the Ohio State Fair with her “Dress Up” sewing project.
The couple met while in high school at the Macon Crossroads Restaurant – a local gathering spot for teenagers. They married in 1971.
In 1972 they became co-advisers in the Tiffin Tots and Teens 4-H Club, where they remained for 10 years until 1990 when they formed a new 4-H club – the East Tiffin Aggies, which today is one of the older clubs in the county.
While Janice has retired as an active adviser, Donald still works with the East Tiffin Aggies and has also served on the 4-H Advisory Committee as its president.
He says he has a unique connection to the fair which showcases 4-H projects. “I was six weeks old in 1950 when my parents brought me to my first fair, and I haven’t missed an Adams County Fair in the 67 years since then.”
The McCarty’s say they are most proud of the fact that every year one or more members of their club has qualified for state fair competition.