Herbert Morgan was a very active member of 4-H as a young man in Leon County and says the 4-H program grounded his life.
He was the second-youngest in a family with seven children. Morgan and his siblings were raised on a small farm east of Tallahassee by their mother. 4-H was an important part of his life at an early age, and shaped the man he would become.
“My father was killed in an auto accident when I was less than two years of age,” said Morgan. “The 4-H professional leaders provided significant mentoring and guidance that complemented my mother’s support and parenting.”
He credits 4-H with helping him chart his course through life. Morgan said, “Without 4-H club involvement, I seriously question whether I would have aspired to the level of education and service that I have been able to achieve.”
While a youth in Leon County, Morgan excelled in many areas of 4-H. During his nine years as a 4-H member his projects included: swine, forestry, corn, tractor maintenance, fat steer, public speaking, dairy, safety, gardening, leadership, career exploration and poultry.
He was the State 4-H Achievement Winner and was selected for a trip to National 4-H Congress in Chicago in 1961. He served as State 4-H Council Vice President in 1961, was a member of the State 4-H Dairy Judging Team in 1960 and a representative at the National Dairy Congress in 1960.
He was awarded First High Individual at the State 4-H Dairy Judging Contest in 1960 and trained the Leon County 4-H Dairy Judging Team in 1961. He was also a member of the State 4-H Livestock Judging Team in 1958 and represented Florida at the International Livestock Exposition. He was the fifth high individual at the State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest in 1958 and also helped train the Leon County 4-H Livestock Judging Team in 1959.
Prior to Morgan’s involvement in 4-H, only one other 4-H member had been chosen for both the state dairy judging team and the state livestock judging team. Morgan was also a District III Tractor Driving Winner for two consecutive years, and a recipient of the Danforth Foundation Leadership Award.
Locally, Morgan served as President of the Capital City 4-H Club for five years and as President of 4-H District III for three years. Morgan won many public speaking contests and attended 4-H Camp Cherry Lake as a camper and then later as a counselor.
His involvement with 4-H did not end with his local club membership. Despite a busy career following graduation from Florida State University, and responsibilities as the father of six children, Morgan served as a member of the Florida 4-H Foundation’s Board of Directors.
He found time to assist Ruth Milton and state 4-H staff with the development and refinement of the Florida 4-H Legislature program. He served as legislative advisor and liaison for more than ten years, working directly with many young people as a mentor and coach as they prepared for the Florida 4-H Legislature program’s learning by doing approach to teaching young people how laws are made and politics carried out.
Morgan served in the Florida Legislature from 1974 to 1986. He was the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee for six years and served as Chairman of the House Rules and Calendar Committee for two years. He used his influence to persuade many state legislators and lobbyists to volunteer their time to assist 4-H members attending Florida 4-H Legislature.
“I know positively that my 4-H club involvement as a youth has been a significant contributor to my success in business, legislative service and community involvement,” said Morgan. “I gained knowledge, experience, confidence and leadership skills that helped prepare me to complete my university education and succeed professionally and politically.”
“My continued involvement with 4-H as a parent and legislator gave me the opportunity to provide guidance and some of the same contributions 4-H gave to me back to the program. Giving back a small part of myself has continued my personal growth,” he said.
Morgan passed away in early 2004, but his contributions to the 4-H program will never be forgotten.