Eight individuals will be welcomed as new additions to the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame during the group’s 26th Annual Enshrinee Recognition Dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 8, at WVU Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp and Conference Center.
The honorees are: Albert E. Grafton of Heaters; Alan R. Miller Sr. of Upper Tract; Richard K.”Dick”Waybright of Ravenswood; Reita Jean Marks of Morgantown; William E. (Pete) Walker of Shenandoah Junction; and Charles R. (Charlie) Hall of Horner.
Two other inductees, Lawrence Watson Deitz and LeRoy Paul Stevens, will be included posthumously.
Grafton has served as chairman and professor of Glenville State College’s Division of Land Resources since 1972. He has devoted most of his adult life to studying and preserving land and forest resources. Grafton has operated his own Christmas tree and grassland farming business for 27years.
Miller initiated efforts to control forest insects, including the gypsy moth, and developed forest fire prevention strategies that have saved many lives. He reorganized the state’s forest fire suppression program to include the assistance of local volunteer fire departments in fire fighting and prevention efforts.
Waybright has served as the West Virginia Forestry Association’s executive director since 1980. He was a skilled 4-H and youth camp director while employed as a Kanawha County Extension 4-H agent. Waybright was also an assistant principal, teacher and coach for the Mason County Board of Education.
Dr. Marks has influenced thousands of youth through her 4-Hprograms and teachings, and is considered as one of West Virginia’s foremost women extension workers. She has continuously assisted the state’s rural youths develop to their greatest potential. Now retired, Marks dedicated her entire professional career, including experience as a high school teacher and guidance counselor in New Jersey, to improving the lives of all young people.
Walker has been a statewide leader in the dairy cattle industry, including tenure as director, vice president, and president of the West Virginia Holstein Association. He has been the president of the West Virginia Dairy Show and Festival at Jackson’s Mill for more than 25 years. He received the Distinguished Service Award by WVU Gamma Sigma Delta Agriculture Honor Society.
Hall has enjoyed a distinguished career and has led management and protection efforts of forests throughout West Virginia, which climaxed as Assistant State Forester in charge of fire control. He also owns a Christmas tree farm that has provided many central West Virginia families with trees and other seasonal holiday items for several years.
Deitz was appointed as one of the seven original Division of Natural Resources commissioners, where he remained for 24 years. He worked tirelessly to find solutions to the state’s forestry and wildlife problems, and personally paid experts to come in to help find answers. He died while chronicling his forest knowledge acquired through several decades of experience, particularly information concerning the Monongahela National Forest.
Stevens served as an associate professor/manager of the Reedsville and Wardensville branches of the West Virginia Experiment Station for 32years. He directed numerous research projects at the farms, and was always meticulous in obtaining necessary data and results. He was always willing to assist graduate students working on various projects. He died in 1996after 32 years of service to the University.
The West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame Foundation honors those individuals, businesses, organizations, institutions and foundations who have made significant contributions to the establishment, development, advancement and improvement of the agriculture and forestry industries in West Virginia.
For additional information or to purchase tickets, please contact any of the following persons: Brenda Aldridge, WVU Extension Service, (304)293-5691; Denise Hunnell, WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Consumer Sciences, (304) 293-2395; Bob Williams, West Virginia Department Agriculture (304) 558-2210; Billy Burke or Chris Martin, Farm Service Agency, (304) 284-4800; LaVera Gillum, West Virginia Farm Bureau (304)472-2020 ext. 20); and Margie Flinn, West Virginia Forestry Association(304) 371-1955.
Tickets must be purchased by June 20, and checks made payable to West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame.