When Earl Ray Gill was a 4-H club member, he received top project awards and competed in state-level demonstrations. He also held all club offices possible over his 10 year membership and received county level citizenship and leadership awards.
“I believe 4-H’s motto, ‘Make the Best Better’ has influenced my life the most,” says Gill. “Developing skills from projects such as cooking, nutrition, photography, and especially leadership has helped me become a more productive individual who is always looking for ways to make life better for myself as well as those around me.”
As an alumnus, Gill has served on the 4-H Advisory Committee and is the current chair. For the past twenty-five years, he has served annually as a judge for county fair 4-H booth entries in Hardee and DeSoto Counties. He has also served as a judge for county and district events for more than two decades, and a record book judge for annual 4-H awards.
“Ray is one of Hardee County’s most valuable volunteers,” said Carolyn Wyatt, 4-H agent in Hardee County. “With his extensive involvement in 4-H as a club member growing up, and his training as a professional educator, his contributions to the Hardee County 4-H program have grown more valuable with time.”
He has become a valuable contributor to the Hardee County 4-H program due to his extensive 4-H knowledge, training and professional education. He has guided and directed the development of policies and procedures used in his county’s program. Gill has also re-written and updated criteria for judging record books, as well as the county’s club attendance policy and dress guidelines.
“His expertise is always shared with the utmost professionalism, integrity and respect for the 4-H staff, as well as our 4-H members,” said Wyatt. “We are privileged to have the dedicated involvement of Ray Gill in the Hardee County 4-H program.”
Gill was a teacher in Hardee County for thirteen years, a district level administrator for eight years, a teacher in DeSoto County for six years and an Assistant Principal at Nocatee Elementary School for four years. He served on the Board of Directors for the Hardee County Fair for fifteen years.
“I look back on my years in 4-H with pride, knowing that the skills I developed as a club member have strengthened my desire to look for ways to make life better for both myself and my community, whether at work, volunteering, or at church,” Gill says.