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Two Bernalillo County residents inducted into New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame

  • By Jane Moorman
  • 505-249-0527
  • jmoorman@nmsu.edu
  • Jul 27, 2012
Man and women, in black dress, in front of 4-H hall of fame sign.
Bernalillo County residents Geraldine "Gerry"Copeland and Don Umbrage were among the seven 4-H leaders and supporters inducted into the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame in July at New Mexico State University. The induction ceremony, which was held during the 4-H State Conference, included individual recognition for the inductees and a reception.

The hall of fame, established in 2002, honors 4-H members, volunteer leaders, fair superintendents, advisory board members, 4-H Foundation trustees and former faculty with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, which administers 4-H statewide.

"This is the highest honor we have to offer people who have provided support and service to 4-H members in New Mexico," said Rick Richardson, interim department head of the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service's 4-H Youth Development Program. "These individuals have given cumulatively more than 180 years of service to the New Mexico 4-H program. Including this group, we have inducted 186 individuals and couples into the hall of fame."

Copeland and Umbrage are among this year's inductees, along with the late Dempse and Virginia Anderson of McKinley County; Barbara Arko of Colfax County; and the late Willie Glen "Bill" and Edna Vinzant of Roosevelt County.

Copeland's work as a 4-H volunteer has resulted in 30 years of service to 4-H. Along with being one of the organizing leaders, she was project leader for dog, public speaking and several other county projects. She attended and coached teams to National 4-H contests and continues to serve on the 4-H Advisory Committee in Bernalillo County.

She started the County Ambassador's program in Bernalillo County and spearheaded its organization and training activities for several years.

Copeland also took a lead role in establishing the Bernalillo County Leaders' Association and the state leaders association. She helped organize annual meetings and took a large role in planning the Western Regional Leaders' Association meeting in Albuquerque in 1996. She also supported the conference in 2010.

"With Gerry Copeland, you find a solid, committed individual who sees beyond her own recognition or accolades to ensure that 4-H members and leaders across the state have the opportunity to learn new skills," according to the letter nominating Copeland for the hall of fame.

Umbrage is a founding father of the New Mexico Junior Livestock Foundation and still serves as an active board member. He also serves on the New Mexico State 4-H Youth Development Foundation board where he has been an active member for more than 15 years.

Through both of these organizations, Umbrage has been active in chairing and organizing many fundraising events, including shooting sports events, golf tournaments and galas. He has solicited many 4-H sponsors and donors throughout the years.

The owner of a tax preparation business, Umbrage volunteers his services each year to file the organization's taxes and provide legal reporting. He serves as the treasurer for both foundations.

"Don is committed to supporting New Mexico youth in agriculture. His long-time and continued involvement in both organizations demonstrates his exceptional support of 4-H in New Mexico," according to the letter nominating Umbrage for the hall of fame.