Putnam County 4-H families joined together Saturday evening to recognize volunteers and acknowledge the achievement and accomplishments of 4-H members.
The highest award in the local 4-H program is the Spirit of 4-H Award, which is sponsored by Bittles and Hurt and Hopkins-Rector funeral homes. The 2011 winner is Shea Mahoney-Sutherland who was presented with a framed certificate and a savings bond by Scott Herrick representing the sponsors.
"We are proud to annually sponsor this top 4-H award honoring an outstanding 4-H career," Herrick said.
The Spirit of 4-H award has been awarded since 1991.
Mahoney-Sutherland is the daughter of Erin Mahoney and Rick Sutherland, is a 2011 South Putnam High School graduate and currently is a freshman studying at DePauw University.
Her career interests and objectives are focused on a position in environmental agriculture.
"I would like to thank the award sponsors, 4-H supporters and volunteers who have made it possible for me to win this prestigious award," Mahoney-Sutherland said.
When asked what motivated her to join 4-H, Mahoney-Sutherland cited, "My mom was in 4-H for nine years as well as my brother ... it's really a family tradition. Also Dorothy and Gerald Edwards have been influential in my life and 4-H career.
"It is really an honor and a great culmination to my 4-H career to win this award," she added. "However the award is insignificant relative to the skills, knowledge, and experience that I have gained from 4-H. The 4-H program has been vital to the person I have become and a vital part of my life."
Putnam County's 4-H Youth Educator Mark Evans said, "Mahoney-Sutherland continues to exemplify the 'spirit of 4-H' by seeking out 4-H opportunities during her college career.
"She was selected as a Bonner Scholar at DePauw and sought out the local Purdue Extension office as a place to serve in her role as a Bonner Scholar. Not only has she been the recipient of 4-H benefits, but has chosen to give back to the local 4-H program with her service learning work."
Mahoney-Sutherland completed a whopping 135 projects during her 10-year 4-H career.
Other awards during the evening program included recognizing the 2011 First-Year 4-H award winner, which was a tie between Gayle Baugh and Mackenzie Stoltz, who each completed five projects.
The top first-year Junior Leader was Mariah Huge, while the top overall Junior Leader with completion points was Kadie McKean.
Emily Cherry was recognized with Home Economics 10-Year Member award, which is presented by the Putnam County Extension Homemakers Council to the 10-year member who completes the largest number of home economics related projects.