Van Fleet named outstanding 4-H alumna

Saginaw and Hillsdale Counties 4-H alumna Gretna Van Fleet, of Frankenmuth, is among eight 4-H alumni inducted into the Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society in 2018.

Gretna Van Fleet photo.

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Saginaw and Hillsdale Counties 4-H alumna Gretna Van Fleet, of Frankenmuth, is among eight 4-H alumni inducted into the Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society in 2018. Van Fleet was recognized on Oct. 5 during the Michigan 4-H Foundation’s 4-H Emerald Awards Ceremony in East Lansing.

The Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society honors former Michigan 4-H members whose professional leadership and community service reflect the ultimate outcome of 4-H membership – extraordinary use of an individual’s head, heart, hands and health to make communities, the country and the world better places in which to live. This recognition is provided by Michigan 4-H Youth Development with support from the Michigan 4-H Foundation.

Van Fleet has served in many roles throughout her lifetime. From office manager for Hillsdale and Saginaw County Farm Bureau branches to secretary of Davis Junior High School, she has used her knowledge to assist farmers and young people. Today, she owns and operates Antique Accents Bed and Breakfast.

An experienced leader who is educated about agriculture and homemaking, Van Fleet is passionate about supporting local Farm Bureau groups and county 4-H programs, as well as sharing her gift of singing. She has been a part of, and directed, her church choir for more than 50 years and has sung and acted in many community choirs and theater productions. She has been an officer in parent groups in local schools and chair of the pastor parish committee and president of the women’s club at Frankenmuth United Methodist Church. Van Fleet has also served as treasurer and president of State Questers, an active member and president of the Frankenmuth Women’s Club, and the program chair for the district United Methodist Organization.

“During my 12 years as a 4-H member, I learned skills that helped me in my domestic career as a mother and in business,” said Van Fleet. “The skill I appreciate most is parliamentary procedure. Later in life, as I served as chair or president of many committees, I had no fear of conducting a business meeting nor taking minutes as a secretary because those skills I learned in 4-H always stayed with me.”

Never one to pass up an opportunity to help, Van Fleet has served 4-H members in three counties: Branch, Hillsdale and Saginaw. She has judged many county fair projects and is always willing to offer a

helping hand to any 4-H member. As a 4-H’er she exhibited cattle, sheep, sewing, cooking and canning projects and received several blue ribbons and leadership awards. She has passed on the skills and experiences she gained with these projects to her children and grandchildren, who are active in 4-H today.

The 4-H Emerald Awards Ceremony was hosted and emceed by State Sen. Judy Emmons, a Montcalm County 4-H alumna and 2014 4-H Emerald Clover Society inductee. Also inducted into the 4-H Emerald Clover Society Class of 2018 were: Darwin Booher, Evart; Domonique Clemons, Flint; Ronald Hendrick, East Lansing; Barbara Haynes Heyboer, Hudsonville; W. G. (Mac) McPherson, Lowell; Thomas Nugent, Clarksville; and Maggie Sans, Clarkston.

Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society members are inducted every two years. The inaugural class of 62 members was inducted in 2002 to coincide with the national 4-H centennial. For more information on the 4 H Emerald Clover Society and its members, visit

The Michigan 4-H Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization that supports Michigan 4-H Youth Development. For more information about the Michigan 4-H Foundation, visit Michigan 4-H Youth Development is the youth-serving program of Michigan State University Extension. More than 209,000 youth are involved in 4-H with the support of 16,000 adult volunteers. For more information about Michigan 4-H, visit

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