The eighteen years Paul Dinkins spent as the 4-H Agent and County Extension Director for St. John’s County may have been a career, but the people he worked with, say it meant so much more.
“Paul Dinkins’ greatest contribution to the 4-H program was seeing potential in every 4-H’er and encouraging them to set and pursue goals,” said Jim Browning , 4-H alumni and friend. “His personal ethics, work habits and morals set an example for all young people and he never missed an opportunity to use his contacts and resources to further the 4-H program.”
Through his excellent working relationships, Dinkins was able to secure support for the 4-H program from government agencies, civic groups and the media. Civic groups provided scholarships to finance youth participation at national and state competitions and summer camps. These same organizations would sponsor 4-H activities and provide judges for the events. Dinkins, however, viewed this support as a “two-way street” and was always finding opportunities for 4-Hers to support and give back to their communities.
He was an active member of both the state and national Agricultural Agents Associations. He served in numerous state offices including president, and worked on many state and national committees. He coached horticultural, livestock and forestry judging teams and demonstrations. The local 4-H Club Forest was named in his honor. He also introduced the 4-H Program into the public school system in order to reach more youth.
Outside of his 4-H activities, Dinkins held membership in his local Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, Jaycees, Timber Growers Association, Cattlemen’s Association, and County Fair Associations. As an active member of all these groups, he was recognized as Outstanding Young Man of the Year by the Jaycees, and again in 1976 by the Florida Cattleman’s Association. He also received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA).