Daniel Sarver, Extension Specialist
Mary Gauerkehas been named the 2022 Tennessee 4-H Salute to Excellence Volunteer of the Year. Mary Gauerke, from Sumner County, is the epitome of an exceptional 4-H volunteer. Mary is currently the 4-H leader of the Sumner County 4-H Companion Animal Project Group, and the Home Horticulture Group.
Her knowledge of and involvement in the 4-H program has led to many examples of youth empowerment in Sumner County. One such example is Mary’s work with Ellis Middle School to beautify the landscape at the school; making sure that the kids at the school were involved, and securing donations for the project. For another example, her volunteer leadership work with 4-H youth created a community garden project, that provided fresh produce for needy families and individuals. Mary and her daughter, Hattie, also collected prom dresses to ship to a 4-H program in North Dakota for girls who could not afford to purchase a dress on their own.
Mary is a strong voice and a creative force for community. She is always striving to “make the best better” by providing ample citizenship opportunities for 4-H youth in Sumner County. Through her tireless 4-H volunteerism at the county, regional, state, and national level, Mary has built many strong relationships with other 4-H volunteers and professionals. She uses these connections to help improve the Sumner County 4-H program, and the 4-H program everywhere.