Local 4-H volunteer receives state Meritorious Service Award

Daphne Hedgecock (right) offers guidance to Julieanna Keibler, a student and 4-H member. Hedgecock is receiving a state Meritorious Service Award for her more than three decades as a 4-H volunteer.

(Posted March 6, 2024)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Madison County resident Daphne Hedgecock has dedicated a large portion of her life to 4-H, from her years as a 4-Her to what is now her 36th year as a 4-H volunteer.

For that dedication, Hedgecock is receiving a state Meritorious Service Award at the Ohio 4-H Conference on March 9 at the Columbus Convention Center. Madison County Extension representatives nominated her for the recognition. Local 4-H youths and parents submitted letters of support.

Hedgecock started her 4-H journey when she was 10 or 11 years old and living in Franklin County. After she aged out of 4-H, she helped her mother, Roseanne Harbage, run the Grove City Snappy Stitchers. In 1999, she moved to the family farm in Madison County and, with her mother, assisted Doris Roby with the Clover Clippers 4-H Club in the Plain City area. She continues to serve as an advisor for the Clover Clippers.

Over the years, Hedgecock has taken on roles that serve broader audiences, spending time as a county and state 4-H judge for projects in the family and consumer science area, such as clothing, nutrition, and interior design. She is a master clothing educator, serving as a state-level volunteer for the past 27 years.

With the help of others, she puts on multiple 4-H clothing and sewing clinics throughout the course of the year. Taking place in Madison County, the clinics have come to attract not only local youths but also youths from Franklin, Fayette, and Union counties.

“We don’t care who we help, just as long as we’re helping kids,” Hedgecock said. “You don’t have to know how to sew to take a sewing or clothing project. Come to our clinics, and we’ll help all skill levels.”

Hedgecock rallies parents to help provide meals, other master clothing educators to lead lessons, and the community as a whole to donate supplies and lend sewing machines for the clinics, some of which take place over a day and some of which take place over a week.

On April 27, Hedgecock will put her organizational and educational skills to the test with a new statewide event, “Sew Ohio,” at the 4-H Center in Columbus. The event will offer beginner, intermediate, and advanced clothing and quilting classes, along with a class for parents to assist them in helping their children with projects. Lunch, a fashion show, guest speakers, and goodie bags are planned. Some lucky participants also will go home with sewing machines.

“We’re hoping for 100 participants,” said Hedgecock, who has been tapped as chair of the event.

As for why she pours so much time and energy into working with 4-Hers and other youngsters, Hedgecock said, “I love working with the kids, and I love seeing where the kids are going.

“I have one young lady who is a designer for a major company in New York. I have another 4-Her who is in design school now at Kent State. I have girls who come back and tell me what they’re up to. It’s the life-long friends that you make.”

Hedgecock is a family and consumer science teacher at Central Crossing High School in South-Western City Schools. She is retiring at the end of this school year.

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