Alachua County Commissioner Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson and his colleagues have found a way to celebrate an organization involved with livestock, community service and public speaking that he said saved his life.
The Alachua County Commission presented a proclamation Tuesday, which declared Oct. 6 through Oct. 12 as National 4-H Week in Alachua County.
Hutchinson said when he was a member 55 years ago, he received a blue ribbon in the county fair for a lamp he made out of chestnut wood. The lamp, which sat next to his bed, was struck by lightning one night.
“Had it not been properly grounded, it might have gotten me,” Hutchinson said. “So 4-H saved my life.”
Alachua County 4-H President Madison Hurm, 17, spoke on behalf of the program, which has about 2,500 members and more than 100 volunteers. Besides raising and showing animals such as horses, cows and pigs, members give back to the community through food drives, military care packages and nursing home visits, she said.
The program, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is open to children 4 to 18 years old, Hurm said. She and nine other 4-H members showed gratitude for the board’s proclamation.
“Without them, 4-H wouldn’t be possible,” Hurm said. “Having their support by everything we do is just a great feeling — that they have our backs and we have theirs.”