Don’t make me use my shovel

Published 6:07 am Thursday, November 12, 2009

There’s always some tension in the air whenever I visit Adams.

After years of poking fun at the community in a newspaper column, there’s no guarantee everybody gets the joke. Not that they don’t have a sense of humor. They do. After all, they hired the former mayor of Taopi of all people to be their city clerk. Fortunately, they also hired his wife to be his backup.

So, I’ll admit I was nervous walking into the Sacred Heart Auditorium Monday night for the 2009 Mower County 4-H Recognition Banquet.

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There’s always the possibility they could turn on me at any time.

My escorts were R.J. and DeDe Bergstrom, so I felt relatively safe.

We sat across the table from Dan and Joyce Vermilyea, which increased my anxiety. Everybody knows Dan is jealous of me.

Each year when Dan presents an award at the banquet, he tells a joke. We’re all hoping next year it will be funny.

Bill and Gayle Perkins sat nearby and Bob and Gail Subra, too. Bob wisely chose to ignore me in order to avoid being mentioned in this column.

The Sacred Heart Church Ladies, led by Shari Heimer, Kris Kiefer and Mary Huntley, with assistance from a few husbands who had nothing better to do on a Monday night in Adams, made an appearance.

4-H is all about making the best better in life. 4-Hers use their heads, hearts, hands and health to do that, and it’s a formula that works. With help from parents and other adult volunteers, the 4-H experience is all positive.

The awards presentation started with Neat and Complete Records. That’s something Bernie Madoff never learned to do.

Mower County 4-H enjoys strong support from its loyal sponsors. For instance, Darrell Ingvaldson and the Mower County Farm Bureau. He presented Environmental Education and Economic Awareness awards to Kaylene Schechinger and Nathan Stevens.

Even the most unglamorous duties at the Mower County Fair received attention at the annual banquet. That came when the Livestock Herdsmanship honors were bestowed to the clubs who do the best job of cleaning out pens and barns during the County Fair.

Congratulations to the Mower County Commissioners, again. Although, I always thought they could use something like that after political debates.

Throughout the evening, the energetic Mower County Ambassadors entertained another full-house in attendance with a comedy routine.

The Mower County 4-H program coordinator Melissa Koch strives to keep the experience fresh for all participants. Llama exhibition is now two years old with nine exhibitors. The outstanding Club Award has been expanded into the Club Ribbon Challenge, which allows more clubs to be recognized for their good works.

During a lull in Monday night’s action, the first ever Gold Shovel award was presented to a tall, dark, handsome newspaper reporter, who always dug for truth, got the scoop and could shovel the news faster than a county commissioner at re-election time.

Modesty prevents me from identifying the award recipient.

The rest of the night, Joyce Vermilyea was busy explaining what shovel, digging, scoop and reporting had to do with anything to her husband Dan.

As the banquet neared its end, the top awards were handed out.

Adult leaders who volunteer their time were honored for their years of 4-H service. The unforgettable Van Dermilyea was recognized for 25 years of leadership and took home the Emerald Clover award.

Other winners included the golden voice of KAUS’ John Wright and everybody’s angel, Deb Schammel and elite 4-Hers, including Katie Subra, Jacob Holst, Liz Meany and Zach Jax.

There’s nothing wrong with praising goodness in the world and maybe, this week, when we honor veterans on Veterans Day and mourn those veterans who became victims at Ft. Hood, Texas, finding something positive to hold in our hears is needed.

4-H does that for me. But you shouldn’t have to search for 4-Hers’ names in a column filled with too many Dan Vermilyea put-downs.

Call your hometown newspaper today and demand they run a story and pictures with all the 4-H award winners.

They better listen. I don’t want to use my gold shovel as a weapon. Congratulations Mower County 4-H for a job well done.