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 2012 winner is Jessie McKean who was presented with a framed certificate and a cash award 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."
McKean, the daughter of Tim and Donna McKean, is a 2012 South Putnam High School graduate. Currently a freshman studying at the University of Southern Indiana, her area of study is biology and science education with career interests in biology or teaching.
"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," McKean said.
Asked who was of significant influence to her 4-H career, McKean offered, "My 4-H Leaders, Pat Sheldon and Vicki Timm, were significant in motivating me and keeping me involved with the 4-H program. I am very thankful to both of these individuals for being leaders of the Jolly Juniors 4-H Club."
Putnam County 4-H Youth Educator Mark Evans praised McKean.
"Jessie will certainly be missed," he said, "as she helped significantly in the Exhibit Hall, engaged in numerous Junior Leader activities including serving as co-president and was very good in working with youth at 4-H Camp. She also contributed to the program by completing an amazing 104 projects during her 10-year 4-H career."
Other awards during the afternoon program included recognizing the 2012 First-Year 4-H award winners Bree Mahoney-Sutherland and Greeley Eastep who completed 14 and four projects, respectively.
The top first-year Junior Leaders were Bailey York and Kelly Hansen while the top overall Junior Leader with completion points was Jake Robertson.
Madison Marsteller was recognized with the 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.
The awards are based annually on the "My Record of Achievement forms submitted by the 4-Hers. Extension Staff and 4-H Council Members review forms to assign points, which ultimately determine the award winners.