County honors Debra Clements, 4-H Extension Agent

OKEECHOBEE — Debra Clements, known affectionately as “Miss Debbie” to 4-Hers and their families, was honored April 26 by the Okeechobee County Commissioners at their meeting in the Okeechobee County Courthouse. Mrs. Clements, who has been employed by Okeechobee County Extension Services Department as the 4-H Extension Agent since Aug. 11, 1995, will retire May 1.

“She has taken care of the county’s children for many years,” said Commission Chairman Terry Burroughs.

From left to right, Tycee Prevatt, Debra Clements and Commissioner Terry Burroughs.

Tycee Prevatt, Glades County Extension Agent, said Mrs. Clements has been a friend and a mentor for many extension agents as well as thousands of 4-H youth. She said Mrs. Clements missed holidays with her own family to travel with 4-Hers to competitions.

Ben Butler, representing the Okeechobee Youth Livestock Show, said Mrs. Clements has meant a lot to a lot of youngsters.

“She was my 4-H advisor, and 4-H agent when I started 4-H,” he said.

“She has affected a lot of people’s lives and the 4-H program has affected a lot of people’s lives.”

“Miss Debbie has been a staple of 4-H,” said Hunter Sills. “She has been a really great person to look up to.”

“Thank you for your efforts,” said Commissioner David Hazellief. “We appreciate everything you have done … livestock shows, summer camps, so many things you have done.

“It takes a special person to give their time and skills for our youth,” said Commissioner Brad Goodbread.

“The biggest problem we have with our youth is being taught respect and work ethic,” he said. “I think growing up in an agricultural lifestyle teaches that better than any other way I can think of.”

Commissioner Kelly Owens said Mrs. Clements has a heart for children.

“We appreciate you and will remember what you have done,” she said.

“You have put a lot of time and effort into the youth,” Chair Burroughs told Mrs. Clements.

“We will miss you.

“You have done an outstanding job for the youth of this community.”

Commission Chair Terry Burroughs read the following proclamation:

“WHEREAS, Debra Clements, has been employed by the Okeechobee County Extension Services Department as the 4-H Extension Agent for Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners from Aug. 11, 1995 until May 1, 2018;

“WHEREAS, Mrs. Clements has unselfishly dedicated her time and expertise for the youth of Okeechobee County throughout her public service career; and dedicated many hours to traveling throughout the State of Florida and across the United States of America with the youth of Okeechobee County to various competitions; and

“WHEREAS, Mrs. Clements has devoted countless hours establishing, improving and managing a variety of 4-H clubs that have strengthened the Heads, Hearts, Hands, Health of our youth. 4-H clubs included but not limited to: Animal Sciences, Citizenship and Leadership Education, Communication Sciences and Expressive Arts, Environmental Education and Earth Sciences, Family and Consumer Sciences, Healthy Lifestyle Education, Plant Science, Science and Technology; and,

“WHEREAS, during Mrs. Clements employment with Okeechobee County Extension Services, approximately 125,000 youth have participated in the many clubs listed above, striving to “Make the Best Better”; and,

“WHEREAS, Mrs. Clements announced her retirement as the 4-H Extension Agent effective May 1, 2018; and,

“WHEREAS, Okeechobee County will miss Mrs. Clements and the dedicated service that she provided to the youth of Okeechobee County and the undersigned over the years.

“NOW, THEREFORE, be it proclaimed by the Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners that we hereby issue this proclamation in recognition of Mrs. Clements’ service and dedication to Okeechobee County and its youth over the past twenty-three years, wishing her an enjoyable retirement and continued success with future endeavors.”

“It has been a wonderful time,” said Mrs. Clements. “I have had an amazing group of kids and their parents.

“The children have grown up to be amazing adults,” she added.

“Everywhere I look around, the people who are there were 4-H kids,” she said.

“It has definitely all been worth it.”

Publisher/Editor Katrina Elsken can be reached at kelsken@newszap.com

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