Ed Horning inducted into 4-H Hall of Fame
By CHRIS MORELLI
BELLEFONTE — Another one of Centre County’s own was recently inducted in the National 4-H Hall of Fame.
Ed Horning, a 4-H and youth development agent in Centre County, was honored at Tuesday’s Centre County commissioners meeting for his Hall of Fame induction and his many years of service to the 4-H.
Although Horning retired in 2012 after 38 years of service, Mary Beth Allegar of the Penn State Extension and 4-H program, said that he still plays a vital role in the 4-H.
“He’s retired, but he’s not retired,” Allegar said with a laugh. “Ed continues to be active as a volunteer with the 4-H program. We’d like to extend our appreciation of that. He’s very instrumental in volunteering with the 4-H camp in the summer.”
Last Friday, Oct 11, Allegar and Horning traveled to Chevy Chase, Md., for his induction into the 4-H Hall of Fame.
“I want to thank the county for the support,” Horning said. “While I was an educator with Penn State Cooperative Extension, we provided a lot of outreach effort to the community at large here in Centre County and across the country. What makes this extra special is all the support we’ve had with volunteers and that sort of thing.”
Horning has a long, storied history with the 4-H. He joined the Penn State Extension in December 1974 and retired in 2012 after 38 years of service. During his tenure in Centre County, he served as County Extension Director for a decade. Horning’s work emphasized the importance of volunteer development, leadership training and community partnerships. One of his major program interests was 4-H camp, especially teen counselor development. Horning served as regional camp director for 30 years and he continues to help plan and participate in a 4-H camp in his retirement.
“Ed has a long career of service to youth in our county,” said commissioner Steve Dershem.
Horning was a charter member of PAE4-HA, served as the first treasurer and later as president. He received the Distinguished Service Award and Meritorious Service Award from NAE4-HA. After handling operations for the 1991 and 2004 Northeast 4-H Leader Forums, he advocated to establish a State Volunteer Leadership Endowment with the conference proceeds. That endowment contributes over $5,000 yearly to volunteer development opportunities.
From 1992-2005, more than 325 teen and adult leaders benefited from partnerships that Horning developed to sponsor 10 Dale Carnegie Classes for. The classes focused on developing positive human relationships, public speaking skills and participant confidence. The Dale Carnegie 4-H partnership became a model that was replicated in other Pennsylvania counties.
“That has been an amazing opportunity and has given them great skills to carry forward,” Allegar said.
Working on community initiatives with both volunteers and agencies was an important component of Ed’s programming. Following the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, Horning convened a Community Building Task Force which led to creation of the Centre County “Communities That Care” initiative. As project director, Horning helped secure state and federal grants that yielded more than $1 million to address priority risks for children. Survey data collected by Communities That Care enabled agencies and schools to be successful in further grantsmanship efforts. Horning directed community tobacco education/prevention efforts. He hosted a group of Iraq community leaders to share information about 4-H, Extension, and agriculture. Ed is a key community stake holder and a resource to many community leaders, human service organizations and public officials.
Horning pursued relationships with 4-H alumni and created opportunities for them to give back to the 4-H program. He established two endowments to enable youth to afford to participate in local, state and national events. More than 70 scholarships from the endowment have been awarded to members to support education beyond high school.
Beginning in 1980, Horning partnered with local Lions Clubs to raise Leader Dogs for the Blind. In 2004, he worked with the Centre County Sight Loss Support Group for 4-H members to raise puppies for The Seeing Eye, Inc. To date, more than 90 service dogs were raised by 4-H members, including five by the Horning family. Centre County 4-H continues a strong commitment to raise service dogs.
“Ed has given lots of hours and time,” Allegar said, “and it’s not a 9-to-5 job. There’s a lot of evening hours and weekend hours where there are camps and retreats, especially in the summertime. It’s a lot to manage. He’s just done a great job over the years.”