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Hartselle Enquirer

Houston and Conley inducted into Alabama 4-H Wall of Fame

Harry Houston, retired Morgan County Extension coordinator, and Kaye Conley, a former Morgan County 4-H volunteer, were  two of 20 new inductees into the Alabama 4-H Wall of Fame recognized Dec. 7 at the Alabama 4-H and Youth Development Center in Columbiana.
Houston began working for Extension Aug. 1, 1954, in Lauderdale County.  He became the 4-H agent in Morgan County three years later.  In that time, he formed many 4-H clubs.  These were formed in the school system and were separated by gender.  The boys clubs focused on farming and agriculture, while the girls clubs focused on homemaking and food preservation.

Corey Connely (C) accepts the 4H award on behalf of his late mother, Kaye Conley. He is joined by (L) Lamar Nichols, Extension Assistant Director for 4-H and Youth Development and (R) Gaines Smith, Extension Director.

With Houston’s leadership, two young men in Morgan County went to the National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago.  He has memories of the chick-chain sponsored by Sears and Roebuck – 100 chicks were given to 12 4-H members each year.  These 4-H’ers had to raise them and bring six back to the final show and sale of the year.
In the spring of 1960, Houston switched to a more agriculture-based Extension position where he saw the beginning of using chemical for weed control as part of a plan he helped pilot for no-till farming.  For that work, he received recognition from the Morgan County Farmers Federation in 2009.
Houston always kept his interest in 4-H and knew what was happening in the county program.  As the county Extension coordinator, he went to 4-H Summer Camp, taught day camp workshops and always was on hand to listen to a demonstration or hear a speech.  He gave advice to young Extension agents who needed that extra push to start a program.
With his retirement, he became a valued resource volunteer, on hand to judge at county 4-H round-up and district 4-H congress.  He trouble shoots programs on the county and regional level.
Houston’s visits to the Morgan County Extension office bring sweets and fruits from his garden, and wisdom that unfolds through his many wonderful stories.
Houston was nominated by Sharon Fisher, 4-H Agent Assistant, Morgan County.
Conley, was posthumously inducted into the Alabama 4-H Wall of Fame.  Her son, Corey, accepted the award in her honor.
The Morgan County 4-H program was inspired by Conley for more than 20 years.  She was the type of volunteer who always had the time to do a little more for 4-H.
The Sparkman Civic Center in Hartselle hosted the County 4-H Round-Up each year, and Conley was the driving force.  More than 150 youth participated, and Conley was the person behind the scenes that made it happen.  While most organizations were charged a deposit, Kaye worked with the Extension staff and Hartselle Parks and Recreation for the cost to be minimal, believing that Parks and Recreation would benefit from youth knowing more about the facility.
Conley’s sons, Brian and Corey, were active in 4-H Fish and Wildlife in Morgan County.  Both have stories about their adventures at 4-H camp and being on the teen leader team.  Conley was always helping them with projects and being sure that they had the right equipment.
Kaye Conley continued to support the Morgan County 4-H program and the District 4-H Round-Up until her death in 2009.
Conley was nominated by Kenneth Gamble, 4-H Regional Extension Agent, Morgan County.

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