Six Michigan 4-H volunteers honored for 50 years of service in 2024 by MSU Extension

For the fourth consecutive year, MSU Extension is celebrating outstanding volunteers who have pledged their hearts, hands and service to Michigan 4-H for half a century.

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For the fourth consecutive year, Michigan State University Extension is celebrating outstanding volunteers who have pledged their hearts, hands and service to Michigan 4-H for half a century. These individuals have volunteered for 50 or more years, giving their time and talents to youth and their communities.

“So many of our MSU Extension programs would not be possible without caring volunteers, especially Michigan 4-H,” said Quentin Tyler, director of MSU Extension. “We are grateful for each and every volunteer who gives their time to our organization, but these six individuals in particular have given so much to MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H. For five decades, they have given their services to our 4-H youth; we cannot thank them enough.”

Michigan 4-H is the flagship youth development program of MSU Extension, providing young people ages five to 19 with experiential learning opportunities that help develop critical life skills. These experiences are offered through numerous delivery models and countless program areas, thanks in large part to the generous support of thousands of volunteers.

4-H volunteers help lead young people and grow their skills in many venues, including after-school programs, summer camps, short-term special interest groups, year-long clubs, special events, fairs and more. As they provide hands-on guidance and real-world experience, these volunteers also offer young people another crucially important element: a healthy adult role model who helps to grow their confidence and ignite their dreams for the future.

“In Michigan 4-H, we pledge our head, heart, hands and health to better living for our clubs, communities, country and world,” explained Jodi Schulz, state leader for Michigan 4-H Youth Development and co-director of MSU Extension’s children and youth programs. “Over their half-century of service, these six individuals have lived this promise, making our communities, country and world a better place through their volunteerism. On behalf of Michigan 4-H, we thank them for their service and dedication to youth in our state.”

The Michigan 4-H 50-year volunteers being recognized in 2024 are:

  • Ralph Gage, St. Joseph County
  • Sandra Gage, St. Joseph County
  • Sue Grover, Livingston County
  • Judith Huynh, Ionia County
  • Jacqueline Manwell, Monroe County
  • Donna Zenker, Calhoun County

In recognition of their service, 50-year volunteers will receive a gift of appreciation from MSU Extension leadership as well as a personal note of thanks.

“Their lifetime of service has made a difference beyond measure,” said Lisa Bottomley, co-director of MSU Extension’s children and youth programs. “We offer these individuals our own gratitude and know that we are joined by the countless youth who have been impacted by these individuals over the past 50 years.”

Tribute gifts in honor of any or all of these 4-H volunteers may be made to support 4-H through the Michigan 4-H Foundation. To learn more about volunteering with Michigan 4-H, visit

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