Extension Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers, Supporters At Annual Banquet

Hopkins County AgriLife Extension Office recognized outstanding volunteers and supporters Thursday evening, Nov. 3, during the 2022 Extension Leadership Banquet.

Featured Speaker

While honorees and special guests enjoyed a meal of salad, baked potatoes, barbecue and peach cobbler prepared by Andy and Mary Lou Wright, Hopkins County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace BJ Teer discussed ways everyone can became gamechangers.

Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace BJ Teer

Teer noted several people made historic industry changes with small changes.

For instance, Ray Kroc was selling Multimixers (milkshake machines), when he bought into the McDonald brothers’ restaurant in the 1950s. He specialized in the assembly line method of preparing pre-cooked food, changing the industry.

Percy Spencer, Teer noted, discovered the power of microwave technology by accident in 1947, when a candy bar in his pocket melted as he got close to a magnetron machine he was working on. The first microwave was a 750-pound, five-foot-tall RadarRange.

Teer said gamechangers are those who are willing to be a shining light for others, but realizes they cannot do everything. He reminded that when things get darkest, light shines brightest. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that while no one can do everything, everyone can do something, even small things, which stacked together can result in great things happening. A single snowflake falling by itself, for instance, is no big deal, but an infinite number of snowflakes together can make up a snow storm, or even a blizzard, which can be a big deal.

The JP noted the power of hope is important for game changers. Start with something simple, making the bed every morning. That’s an accomplishment daily. If you can’t take care of the little things, you won’t be able to take care of hte big things either, Teer noted, citing Naval Admiral William McRaven’s keynote address at the 2014 University of Texas graduation. Or, as Teer has been told, take care of hte pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

Carmen Rockett with Texas District 2 Rep. Bryan Slaton’s Office

Gamechangers embrace curiosity; they say yes, summon their courage, get out of their comfort one and try new things. They act. Each person is called to do something with their lives. Great things can happen when you roll in your role. He encouraged those present to summon God to help and will make His agenda their agenda.

Gamechangers also are lifelong learners, who don’t let what they do know them from recognizing there are many things they don’t know. When knocked down in life, gamechangers find the good, look for what they can learn from the experience, Teer said.

A vision to lead is another trait of a gamechanger. With no vision you will perish; gamechangers do not let fear limit them or their vision. They strive to empower the people around them, pass on blessings to others, thereby empowering others to change the world.

“If you can change yourself, you can change the game. If you change the game, you change the world,” Teer said, encouraging those present to embrace their role as leaders to use their calling and traits to empower and bless others, to change the world.


Hopkins County Family and Community Health Agent Johanna Hicks expressed appreciation to all present at the Nov. 3, banquet, noting that each has made marked difference already. She too recognized Allie Owens who has been her right hand, working with her as she offers early childhood sessions for parents of SSISD’s youngest students.

Hicks then recognized the Master Wellness Volunteers, 14 individuals who have completed 40 hours of training in areas of health, wellness, food safety, working with diverse audiences, finding reliable resources on the web, and other topics.  In turn, they work with the Family & Community Health Agent and other agencies for planning, promoting, implementing, and evaluating programs. 

Hopkins County Master Wellness volunteers have contributed 1,403 volunteer hours and reached more than 6,000 individuals through their efforts. Hicks commended them for doing a wonderful job serving others.

She recognized what she calls “newbies,” those who have completed the training and put in a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer service. They include:

  • Mary Ballard, 325.5 hours
  • Toni Maddin, 82.5 hours
  • Hillary Young, 61.5 hours

The more experienced master volunteers who also put in their share of invaluable hours of work included:

  • Marjean Allen, 66 hours
  • Joan Brennan, 125.5 hours
  • Pat Connally, 210.5 hours
  • Susie Faltesek, 89.5 hours
  • LaTarra Giles, 30 hours
  • Wendy Johnson, 87 hours,
  • Sylvia Millsasp, 9.5 hours
  • Patsy Neal, 305.5 hours
  • Kim Sellers, 3.5
  • Nell Shipp, 3.5 hours
  • Linda Tanton, 3 hours
Bradley McCool, Certified Instructor for Archery and Texas 4-HS Shooting Sports Program

Hopkins County AgriLife Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources Mario Villarino, who oversees the 4-H program recognized Brad McCool who has attained certification to teach archery to local 4-H youth. He noted that when people asked how they make the 4-H program successful, he credits the kids who get excited and get other kids excited about 4-H projects and programs and tell their parents, who often become involved.

Villarino too recognized the the Hopkins County Master Gardeners who took a program and ran with it, overcoming challenges presented and having amazing results. Dawn Wilburn brought up the idea of teaching and education program to inmates in the jail trusty program. The Master Gardeners, who enjoy helping the community, took the idea and ran with it, offering two series for the inmates.

Hicks noted that like the agricultural and other programs, Master Gardener also helped her host a 3-day sewing workshop during spring break, her work with Ag-in-the-Classroom last month, Fall Festival Creative Arts Contest and has been putting goody bags together for Christmas Joys holiday program that Hicks and others will put on for the community on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022.

For all of those things, the Extension Agents recognized Master Gardener Phyllis Kitten as the 2022 Outstanding Extension Supporter of the Year. Her name will be placed on a plaque which hangs at the Extension Office for all to see.

Hopkins County Master Gardener Phyllis Kitten and Carmen Rockett with Texas District 2 Rep. Bryan Slaton

Carmen Rockett presented Kitten with a certificate on behalf of Rep. Slaton’s office, recognizing her and congratulating her for the honor of being Hopkins County’s 2022 Extension Supporter of the Year for her many contributions to the Hopkins County community.

Hopkins County Extension Agent Mario Villarino, Master Gardener Phyllis Kitten and Extension Agent Johanna Hicks

Author: KSST Contributor

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