Cornell Cooperative Extension of Steuben County Presents Annual Awards

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Steuben County announced several awards at their 2021 Annual Meeting.

  • The Campus Connection Award went to Eduardo Gonzalez, the Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Cornell Cooperative Extension. Gonzalez helps Extension associations across the state to be more open minded and aware of inequities in our everyday lives. He worked with the Steuben staff in two workshops this past year to help them change how they think and how they treat others by educating them through readings, trainings, and discussions.
  • The Friend of Extension Award went to the Steuben County Farm Bureau.  Ed Merry, current president of the organization, accepted the award. The Farm Bureau has partnered with CCE Steuben in helping their producers, taking them on farm tours, collaborating on vaccine availability communications, including them in their board meetings and making regular donations.
  • The second Friend of Extension Award went to the Pro Action Youth Development Program. Jennie Knox accepted the award for the program. The program is new and was created in response to the pandemic and lack of youth center space in Bath. It recruited youth and made the youth feel comfortable while keeping them busy with interactive activities and minimizing screen time. The program invited CCE Steuben to do regular programming such as 4-H Robotics and a coding club and assisted CCE Steuben with new programs and activities.
  • The Outstanding Volunteer Award went to Attorney Patrick Roth of Painted Post. Roth partnered with CCE Steuben for over 15 years providing education to their financial program in the way of estate planning topics. He shares his knowledge, time and expertise with our participants at no cost, and he cares about encouraging people to put their affairs in order and helping them through a difficult time of life. He has provided dedication and unending service to CCE Steuben.
  • The second Outstanding Volunteer Award went to Amey Rusak, Associate Executive Director of Pro Action of Steuben and Yates. Rusak extends her wealth of knowledge and compassion beyond her workday to support our community including serving as Vice President of the Bath Central School District Board of Education. She is passionate about bettering the lives of others and making a more equitable community for all. She chairs CCE Steuben’s Community Health & Financial Well-Being Program Advisory Committee and acts as the committee’s representative to the Board of Directors.
  • The Outstanding Youth Award went to Braxtyn Elliott. Elliott has been a dedicated Steuben County 4-H member for 11 years and has become an aspiring leader to her fellow 4-H peers. She has been president of her 4-H club for four years, participates in community service projects with the club, shows her livestock at the Steuben County Fair and across New York State, and recently led a Barn Quilt workshop for 4-H members and participated in the New York State Ag Innovators Experience.
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Phyllis Rathbun. Rathbun started her 71st year this fall as leader of the Willing Workers 4-H Club. She started the club at age 16 with 25 members and the club quickly grew to 40-60 members per year. Her club has a strong junior leader program and over the years her members have taken top honors in county, district, state and national events and award trips. Rathbun judges at the county level and has been recognized by New York State 4-H for her impact on youth and dedication and advocacy of the 4-H Program. She received the NYS Salute to excellence Lifetime Volunteer Award in 2004 and the New York State Fair Volunteer of the Day in 2006.

The Annual Meeting was held at the Barrelhouse 6 Distillery, where COO/Master Distiller Kara Mackey gave a presentation on craft distilling.

CCE Steuben Executive Director recognized the support the organization has had from so many people as the reason for its strong mission of putting knowledge to work in Steuben County. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Steuben County puts knowledge to work in pursuit of economic vitality, ecological sustainability and social well-being. This is done with the following programs: 4-H Youth Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Extended Food and Nutrition Education Program, Financial and Consumer Wellness and the SNAP Education Southern Finger Lakes Program. We are a nonprofit that brings local experience and research-based solutions from Cornell University together, helping New York State families and communities thrive in our rapidly changing world.

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