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Gift helps 4-H'ers make their own state fair memories

David and Linda Werner endowment reduces financial barriers

David and Linda Werner with Bev Durgan
David and Linda Werner are presented with a U of M Heritage
Society certificate by Bev Durgan, Extension dean

David Werner has plenty of memories from the Minnesota State Fair. There was the first year he showed livestock as a 4-H’er. His pig, a Duroc gilt, got sick and David was so worried that he spent most of the fair sitting in his pig’s pen. Then there was the time, years later, as an adult chaperone, he was looking forward to sleeping in one Sunday morning after a grueling schedule of early morning and late nights with the livestock encampment. He was awakened by a young 4-H’er who was concerned that David would miss breakfast. He still laughs about that one.

David’s wife, Linda, has plenty of 4-H stories of her own. Like David, she got her start with 4-H as a kid in Pipestone County, and has participated in the state fair as a 4-H exhibitor and judge. So when the couple was considering ways to give back, University of Minnesota Extension 4-H was at the top of their list. “It’s just been a big part of our lives, a part of shaping who we are and who we’ve become,” says David, who later worked as an Extension educator, district director, and finally as chief financial officer.

After discussing different ways of giving back to 4-H, the Werners settled on the state fair. David says that he and Linda see the fair as a culmination of a year’s work and a place for 4-H’ers to demonstrate what they’ve learned. They hope that their giving will enhance the state fair experience, helping a new generation of 4-H’ers create their own state fair memories.

This year, funds from the David and Linda Werner Endowment for 4-H State Fair Experiences will be used for the first time. The endowment provides scholarships to help 4-H’ers who couldn’t otherwise afford to attend and showcase their work. It takes hard work and dedication to qualify to go to the fair as a 4-H’er, and the Werners want to make sure that youth don’t lose that opportunity because of financial hardship. The endowment will also provide help for financial emergencies that arise at the fair for youth, families, volunteers or staff. Sometimes, the unexpected happens, and it’s more difficult to deal with away from home.

The Werners’ goal is to help make sure every 4-H’er has a fabulous state fair experience.
You can learn more about supporting Minnesota 4-H at Extension’s giving website or by contacting Jane Johnson, Extension development director.

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