Ulster County 4-H’er Gives Back to Honor a Fallen Mentor

You could hear the cheers from the 4-H Livestock Auction clear across the Fairgrounds. 4-H’er Ariana Padua’s donated auction turkey had just been donated back for the third time, with the proceeds of the sale totaling $2,640 to benefit the Erica Bell Memorial Field Hockey Scholarship Fund at Rondout Valley High School.  That is A LOT of money for a turkey, with generous bidding by the Ulster County Ag Society, Matt Goodnow, and Bell Excavating, Erica’s father’s company.  

Erica Bell was a lifelong 4-H’er with 12 years in the 4-H program at the time of her untimely and tragic death from cancer in 2010.  She truly embodied the 4-H values of service and leadership by bringing younger 4-H’ers under her wing and teaching them how to show their animals at the Ulster County Fair, and properly care for and raise animals.  So powerful was her leadership that she inspired new generations of leaders like Ariana.  Ariana, a 3-year auction participant at the time with 7 years of 4-H involvement, had these fond memories of Erica’s service in mind when she informed the 4-H Auction Program Development Committee in 2015 of her decision to donate a turkey to benefit the Erica Bell Memorial Scholarship Fund.  

Ariana, a sophomore at Walkill High School, has herself gone on to be a leader to other 4-H’ers and served as the President of the 4-H Animal Squad Club, and is currently serving as Vice President. This year Ariana is not raising an additional animal, but plans to resume her selfless donation in memoriam of Erica Bell.  The 2016 4-H Livestock Auction takes place at the Ulster County Fair on Saturday August 6th at 7:30pm in the Goat and Sheep Barn.  Please join us in supporting service-minded 4-H youth who raise high-quality auction animals. 

Source:  Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County

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