A legacy of leadership: Veteran county 4-H educator retiring from post

For many years, the name Pam Hess has been synonymous with Jackson County 4-H.

As Hess retires from her position as Jackson County Purdue Extension educator and director of 4-H youth development, she leaves her legacy and the program she has been so involved in for more than 26 years.

Jackson County Purdue Extension director Richard Beckort said Hess is leaving behind “mighty big shoes.”

“She has been the program for so long,” Beckort said.

More importantly, he said Hess leaves with friendships and a lot of pride.

“A lot of kids in the program grew up to be strong leaders in the community,” he said. “She had a hand in that.”

Hess said she got the job as extension educator after moving back to Jackson County after teaching for 13 years.

She said her favorite part of the job was working with children and seeing them mature. As a teacher, interaction with students lasts a year. But in the 4-H program, Hess said, many kids are involved for 13 years. Some also grow up to have their own kids participate in 4-H or return as volunteers, she said.

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