Habjans receive 4-H Hall of Fame honor

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Joe and Virginia Habjan of Nevada were inducted into the Missouri 4-H Club Hall of Fame Aug. 14 during the state fair in Sedalia. With them at right is Missouri 4-H Foundation Chair Ruth Tofle of Columbia.

Joe and Virginia Habjan of Nevada and their six kids have been Vernon County 4-H Club stalwarts for decades and on Aug. 14, the couple was rewarded with inclusion in the Missouri 4-H Hall of Fame.

Recognized for a total of 175 years' participation going back to her parents' involvement at Olathe, Kan., in the 1940s, Virginia Habjan says the club prepares young people for adulthood in a broad range of spheres.

Noting 4-H is for "Head, Heart, Hands and Health," she said, "It's a great organization because children can start at age 5 and be regular members from 8 to 18.

"It teaches them to be responsible and gives them the skills needed to manage a home or business and work with people and groups," she said.

Inspired by the example of her farming parents, Ambert and Louise Meyer, Habjan took part in foods, clothing, pigs and beef competitions as a youngster and then with her husband's support encouraged her children to get involved.

The Habjan kids are Kevin of Fulton, Brian of Linwood, Kan., Angie Madigan of Fayetteville, Ark., Katie Lueck of Westfield, Ind., Christina Cox of Blue Springs, and Dominic, a University of Missouri student at Columbia who just finished his year as treasurer of the State 4-H Council.

Habjan, a former Vernon County public administrator, said it "was a great honor" to be inducted during the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia along with 44 people from 35 counties. Nearby honorees were Linda and the late Richard Morgan of Barton County and the late Ethel Rohlfing of St. Clair County.

Joe Habjan is a retired 3M Corp. employee. The couple received pins, a certificate and a trophy.

Missouri 4-H Foundation Chair Ruth Tofle of Columbia said the ceremony "acknowledges the contributions of distinguished 4-H leaders of the past and present.

"We honor these individuals with membership in the Hall of Fame because they have created a legacy of service to 4-H," said Tofle.

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