South Dakota 4-H Hall of Fame Recipients Honored at 2021 State Fair

Four individuals were welcomed into the South Dakota 4-H Volunteer Hall of Fame, as well as three more into the 4-H Shooting Sports Volunteer Hall of Fame this month during the 2021 South Dakota State Fair in Huron. The public ceremony was held Sunday, Sept. 5 at the Nordby Exhibit Hall.

The 2021 Volunteer Hall of Fame inductees are:

Ree Reich, Butte County

Recognized for her 40-plus years of volunteering with the South Dakota 4-H Positive Youth Development program and Butte County, Ree Reich is often described as “an individual who leaves an amazing footprint of legacy wherever she goes.” She has served on the local Redwater Youth Leadership Foundation and the Executive Committee for the Western Junior event for many years. Her expertise, intense passion and loyalty have been poured into thousands of lives, youth and elders, on behalf of 4-H. Outside of 4-H, Reich volunteers at church, the Belle Fourche Long-Term Care Sunday services and weekly sing-a-longs, Meals on Wheels and the Belle Fourche grade schools. She has been involved in the Cowboy Band for more than 30 years, as well as the Mixed Company singing group and other community choirs in the tri-state area.

Ardyce Elwood, Pennington County

With 50 years of service to Pennington County and South Dakota 4-H, Ardyce Elwood has had a lasting impact on many 4-H Families. When her oldest son was eligible for 4-H, she made the decision to become a volunteer leader and continued that service during her daughter’s tenure and now with her grandchildren. Elwood has led three different clubs, including the Valley Rangers and Triceratops. As a member of the Leaders Association, she volunteered to judge, run food booths, lead judging schools for going to state, organize measuring contests and more. She has also volunteered for the Western Junior show, running the rabbit show for several years and gathering donations for 4-H member recognition. Elwood is known for transporting 4-H members in her van on tours around the hills to learn about different rocks and minerals, as well as to the state fair each year. She has been recognized as a State 4-H Leader and attended the National 4-H Convention in Washington D.C.

Cindy Riley, Butte County

Cindy Riley has built a prolific 4-H resume with 33 years of service to Butte County and the South Dakota 4-H program. In 1980, Riley started a “little girls club,” which evolved into what is still known today as “4-H Club, Center of The Nation.” She has also served as volunteer leader for the Crow Peak Valley Rangers. Riley spent many years, with her newlywed husband back in the day, leading the local Junior Leaders youth group. She has served as a 4-H judge in many areas and even led a local 4-H food stand during the county fair. Riley continues to work with 4-H youth and their families while serving as the administrative assistant for Butte County 4-H and in the Extension Club, where members complete countless community service hours and share their expertise with a diverse community population.

Carole Curtis, Edmunds County

For 45 years, Carole Curtis has been a prominent figure in keeping 4-H programming going in Edmunds County. She started her career as an Extension Educator in Edmunds County in 1976, putting on many youth programs, including safety camps, judging schools and quiz bowls. She also started a 4-H club in Ipswich, which she continues to lead. Following her retirement, Curtis helped new 4-H staff become familiar with her job and people in the community. She has also stepped up when Edmunds County was without an educator, filling the gap and making sure 4-H members continued to have the opportunity to participate at their county achievement days. Her 4-H club is known for its community service efforts, and Curtis also personally serves the community as a member of the development corporation and on the Trail Days committee.

The 2021 4-H Shooting Sports Volunteer Hall of Fame inductees are:

Tom Smith

For more than 15 years, Tom Smith has served as the head shooting sports instructor for Lawrence County. In his time, he has helped 4-H members with BB gun, air pistol, air rifle, Precision 22 and CMP rifle in addition to being the volunteer range officer at local 4-H competitions and junior high rodeo shoots. Smith has served as a National 4-H shooting sports coach and has given time and money to the promotion of 4-H shooting sports in Lawrence, as well as surrounding counties. He has had a profound impact on numerous 4-H members, and he takes teaching safety and the basic principles of shooting seriously.

Art and Audrey Kneen

Art and Audrey Kneen have devoted more than 25 years to the Sanborn County and South Dakota 4-H Shooting Sports program. Long after their children completed their 4-H careers, the couple’s devotion to the shooting sports projects continues, inspiring many 4-H members. Art has served as a coach for BB gun, air rifle and air pistol, while Audrey is responsible for paperwork and scoring. Art is always seeking out knowledge and tips to help kids improve their shooting skills, and he often offers little challenges or contests to push them one step further. Since 2012, he has also served as a national shoot coach. Audrey works to keep everyone organized by ensuring coaches and members have everything they need. She has manually scored hundreds of targets and manages required paperwork, recordkeeping, supplies and research on the best equipment.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 4-H Volunteer Hall of Fame inductees were unable to be recognized in a public ceremony during the 2020 State Fair. During this year’s ceremony, the 2020 4-H Volunteer Hall of Fame inductees were also recognized and include Patricia Casteel, Meade County; Calvin Finnesand, Roberts County; Mike Steiger, Dewey County; Patty Brunner, Pennington County; and Margaret Williams, Clay County.

The 4-H Volunteer Hall of Fame commemorates the 4-H Centennial, which occurred in 2002. Each summer, individuals who have made significant contributions to county or state 4-H programming are honored through the 4-H Volunteer Hall of Fame.

“Congratulations to all of our 2020 and 2021 4-H Volunteer Hall of Fame inductees,” says Jenae Hansen, South Dakota 4-H Volunteer Development Field Specialist. “Thank you for your generous support and efforts in making South Dakota 4-H a successful youth development program.”

South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension’s 4-H Youth Development Program is a partnership of federal (U.S. Department of Agriculture), state (Land Grant University) and county resources through youth outreach activities of SDSU Extension. Youth learn and experience leadership, health and wellness, and science and agriculture through a network of professional staff and volunteers reaching more than 9,000 enrolled members with yearly programming efforts to an additional 35,000 youth participants.