When A.T. Andrews joined 4-H in 1937 he had no idea he was beginning a relationship that would last a lifetime. Andrews became a 4-H club member in Bradford County during the Great Depression. He participated in forestry, livestock, and vegetable projects.
“I liked the way 4-H was developing and the way they looked at life,” said Andrews. “I thought I could look at life that way, so I stuck around.”
After he graduated from high school, World War II broke out. Andrews entered the U.S. Marine Corps. He attended aviation school and then served in the South Pacific combat zone for four years, including the invasions at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
Upon returning home from the war, Andrews attended the University of Florida where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Following his graduation, he began working as an Agriculture Extension Agent in Alachua County. He later served as the Alachua County Extension Director until his retirement.
“I loved my career with Extension and as a 4-H Agent,” said Andrews. “During my years I trained 157 state and national contest winners in all project areas.”
“A.T. Andrews was one of the most respected and dedicated 4-H and agricultural agents,” said L.W. Kalch, University of Florida. “A.T. was instrumental in getting Florida cattlemen to participate in production testing programs and in 4-H livestock shows at the county, district and state levels. He also worked with civic groups to sponsor 4-H camp and short course scholarships, and he was appointed to serve on the Parks, Trails and Recreation Board of Florida by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.”
When asked if he felt that 4-H was still relevant to youth today Andrews said, “4-H is vital to youth today – it lets them see what the world is all about. It teaches them about the world and they learn not to sit around and wait for someone to do their work for them.”
Andrews says that one of the greatest joys he has gained from his career is seeing how well so many of the “kids” he has worked with have turned out.
“We have had some good leaders out of the bunch that I worked with,” he said. “Many went on to get PhDs, to become veterinarians, and college professors. They learned how to be good leaders.”
In honor of A.T. Andrews’s leadership in the 4-H program, a former 4-Her established several scholarships to assist Alachua County 4-H members, and Andrews says that gives him a lot of gratification.
“4-H and my church activities have been very important to my family and I,” said Andrews. “Letters and comments from former 4-H friends are a great satisfaction.”