Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service agents and employees dedicate a lot of time and effort to help improve the lives of everyone living in South Carolina. To show appreciation, each year Clemson Extension recognizes employees who show visionary leadership, as well as diversity and innovation in educational programming.

Deon Legette

Award recipients this year include Deon Legette, Midlands District director, who received the Cooperative Extension Distinguished Public Service Annual award. Sponsored by the Alumni Association, this award is the highest honor awarded to an Extension professional. According to her award citation, Legette “has mentored countless adults and youth and she is still mentoring and supporting those who are fortunate to have crossed her path.”

After participating in the President’s Leadership Institute, Legette was inspired to develop and train future leaders to carry out the mission of the Cooperative Extension Service. Through her efforts, she created the Extension Emerging Leadership Initiative (EELI) to provide leadership skills, professional development, team building, and training opportunities for county agents and Extension associates. In addition, EELI 2.0, the second phase of the development program, aims to actively engage the students in problem-solving, team building, and other activities that allow them to grow as leaders.

“Mrs. Legette has and is promoting cohesion among leaders, developing a higher level of excellence and providing the essential skills to enhance leadership,” the award citation stated. “It is because of her efforts, loyal service, and the implementation of EELI that she has been selected to be the recipient of the Alumni Award for Cooperative Extension Service.”

Other awards given were the Extension Team Awards. These awards encourage and recognize those who have brought credit to Clemson University through their dedication, interest, enthusiasm, and attitude as a team and in successfully accomplishing the mission of Extension.

First-place recipients of the 2020 Cooperative Extension Team Award are Christine Patrick, an Extension health agent and nutrition educator for EFNEP, who serves Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell and Orangeburg Counties, and Marlyne Walker, a registered dietician, Extension senior agent and an EFNEP state specialist. Patrick and Walker were nominated by Michelle Parisi, team leader of the Clemson Extension Rural Health Team and Tarana Khan assistant team leader of the Rural Health Team and state program coordinator for EFNEP.

“These ladies have utilized creative methods in delivering innovative trainings, utilizing cost-effective and time-saving techniques in making creative trainings easier to apply for educators of the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP),” Parisi said.

“They both bring true professionalism, genuine care, and quality work into sharing their knowledge with others,” Khan said.

Second-place recipients of the 2020 Cooperative Extension Team Award are 4-H Livestock Poultry Project sub-committee members: Jennifer Mountford, 4-H agent in Abbeville County, Carly Smith, 4-H agent in Williamsburg County, Dawn Stuckey, 4-H agent in Colleton and Hampton Counties, and Steve Hucks, 4-H agent in Lancaster County. These award winners were nominated by Dawn Stuckey, 4-H Agent in Colleton and Hampton Counties.

The nomination form reads, “For months, this team met to redesign the 4-H Livestock Poultry Project so it would be acceptable for use by all youth in any community across the state. Their efforts will enable all 4-H Agents to utilize the same standard platform, the same information, and the same opportunities in 4-H Poultry Projects across the state.”

Clemson Extension Director Tom Dobbins congratulated all of the award recipients for their exceptional work and dedication to the Cooperative Extension Service.

“I am proud of our award winners and the work of all our Clemson Cooperative Extension agents,” Dobbins said. “These awards are well-deserved and further confirmation of the positive impact Clemson Extension agents have across South Carolina.”

-END-

CLICK HERE FOR IMAGE GALLERY OF AWARD RECIPIENTS