As the 2010 Monroe County Cooperative Extension annual meeting and volunteer banquet, held at the Pleasant Valley High School in Brodheadsville, rolled into the award phase of the evening's program, a West End 4-H leader got a coveted 4-H award, "The "Special Leader Award."

Called to the podium was long-time 4-H Leader Claudia Hill, of McIlhaney in Chestnuthill Towsnhip, who is also the 4-H Program Advisory Council president.

She was the nominee of Gretchen Schmidt, a long-term member of the Insects Are Us 4-H Club.

"My 4- H career started quite young," Schmidt told her audience of Extension staff, friends, 4-H leaders and others. "I would tag along with my brother who was nine years old, to the Insects Are Us meetings and some of the events.

"I was accepted by Mrs. Hill and I knew that she really did care (and still does) about my experience in 4-H. She helped me grow and mature before I was even a 'legal' member of her club.

"Every second Friday meeting, every fourth Saturday meeting, and every event in between, Mrs. Hill was there," Schmidt continued. "She devotes such an immense amount of her time to our club, it leaves me speechless. I am not sure there is even an existing number that can be used to describe how many hours she has spent with the club over the past 11 years of my membership. Mrs. Hill is always there, leading us, encouraging us, and cheering us on."

Schmidt continued her lauding description of Claudia Hill, adding that "I am most definitely not the only member of my club who can say this."

In addition to Hill being recognized as "Special 4-H Leader," Extension Board members and 4-H Program Advisory board members were elected, with Rick Hackett, current Extension Board president, and Claudia Hill president of the 4-H PAC, presiding over those portions of the meeting respectively.

Dawn Olson, County Extension Director, recognized the Family Living Committee members and detailed the 2010 County Extension highlights via each employee's program. Linda Wiles added horticulture happenings and presented her recognitions.

After the dinner and volunteer recognition portion of the evening was concluded, a special presentation by David Messersmith, Extension Educator, on "Marcellus Shale: Impacts and Implications for Monroe County" had over 100 persons, including several PVHS students, filing into the PVHS auditorium.

Messersmith's presentation was met with audience questions and comments that indicated strong feelings about the entire issue.