ATHENS, Ga. — Gale Cutler, a senior public relations coordinator at the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (EMC), has been named the 2020 recipient of the prestigious Georgia 4-H Green Jacket Award. In addition to Cutler’s role at Georgia EMC, she is an integral member of the Georgia 4-H Advisory Committee.
Awarded each year since 2008, the Green Jacket Award, presented by the Georgia 4-H Program, recognizes an outstanding public servant who continuously exhibits tremendous support and commitment to the program and its initiatives.
“The success of the Georgia 4-H program is made possible by excellent Extension staff, volunteers and donors who support our efforts to help 4-H members achieve their goals and dreams,” said Georgia 4-H Leader Arch Smith. “The Stars Across Georgia program recognizes outstanding 4-H adults who exemplify the best of Georgia 4-H.”
This year’s Stars Across Georgia awards ceremony was held virtually, honoring the statewide recipients of the William H. Booth Award, the Friend of Georgia 4-H Award and the Ryles Rising Star Award, in addition to the coveted green blazer presentation.
Cheryl Poppell of Toombs County was awarded the Georgia EMC-sponsored William H. Booth Award, recognizing her contributions as a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent. Poppell has worked as a 4-H Extension agent for 21 years, impacting the lives of hundreds of youth and adults by expressing the importance of agriculture and specialized program development.
“Georgia 4-H provides a powerful positive influence on young people’s lives through 4-H Extension agents like Cheryl Poppell,” said Cutler. “By making a commitment to youth as they contribute their time, creativity and caring dedication, they make a difference across their communities and our state.”
George Lee, a retired Crisp County Extension agent, picked up the Friend of Georgia 4-H Award presented by the Georgia Association of Extension 4-H Agents. Awarded to an individual who exemplifies dedication and longstanding commitment to 4-H, Lee received the honor for his more than 60 years of support and involvement with the organization.
“A personal passion exists for 4-H program accomplishments in young people as they attain leadership and education skills,” said Lee. “This passion was born in me from early childhood experiences in 4-H and was strengthened in working with so many young members, parents and community leaders. I’m glad my family chose 4-H as an educational life tool and I’m glad to be a friend of Georgia 4-H.”
Bulloch County’s Susannah Lanier was honored with the Ryles Rising Star Award, named after former Georgia 4-H Leader Dr. Roger C. “Bo” Ryles to commemorate outstanding success and membership within the first five years of employment at either a county program, 4-H center or state office. Lanier actively leads youth development programs for more than 1,800 youth in 90 different clubs. In her three years as a 4-H agent, she has become an innovative voice in numerous areas, including the transition to virtual programming.
“In a short period of time, Susannah has distinguished herself as a very bright star in 4-H,” said Lee Anna Deal, Southeast District 4-H program development coordinator. “She has grown the number and use of volunteers and she has expanded offerings in competitive events, increased leadership and service opportunities, and continues to find ways to meet the needs of her community. Above all, she has shown great character during uncertain times, quickly coming to the aid of many who were struggling to adapt to a new virtual world.”
Each of the award candidates is nominated by members of their community and 4-H representatives throughout the state.
“One of the highlights of our 4-H year is recognizing the outstanding community and Extension leaders who make our organization such an impactful success,” said Johnathon Barrett, executive director of the Georgia 4-H Foundation. “My sincere congratulations are extended to all of the recipients of this year’s Green Jacket, William H. Booth, Friend of Georgia 4-H and Ryles Rising Star awards. It is an outstanding group of people.”
For more information on the awards and the Georgia 4-H program, visit georgia4h.org.
–Sean Montgomery, University of Georgia