COURT HOUSE - Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County Advisory Council presented its 2019 Leadership Award to Diane Rea at the Board of Agriculture meeting Sept. 4 at Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) of Cape May County.
According to a release, each year the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Advisory Council presents the award to an individual or organization in Cape May County that has demonstrated outstanding support and contributions to one of the programs within Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
This year, Diane Rea received the award in recognition of her efforts as a volunteer and supporter – for nearly 50 years, of all three programs that make up RCE of Cape May County.
Rea’s qualifications and achievements are countless.
As a member of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County family since the 1970s, Rea volunteered for the 4-H Youth Development program for over 30 years.
She first served as a 4-H volunteer leader and then became active in all branches of extension. In 4-H, Rea started the Odds and Ends 4-H club, educating youth in the areas of foods and nutrition, textiles and clothing and creative crafts. She later became an integral part of the leadership team in the Pitchforks and Buckets 4-H Club, helping children in Cape May County to raise quality animal projects from the beginning to the final sale.
Rea was also instrumental in the operation of the 4-H Livestock Auction at the 4-H Fair, served as an officer of the Livestock Committee for some 20 years, was a member of the 4-H Leaders’ Association for many years, and represented Cape May County at the New Jersey 4-H State Association.
Betty Jean Webersinn, the former 4-H agent in Cape May County, stated, “Having always encouraged strong parental involvement, Diane’s leadership impacted hundreds of youth, developing their skills in various subject matter areas such as responsibility, leadership, public speaking, citizenship and community service. We are lucky to have her as a volunteer.”
Rea’s volunteer efforts have not been confined to only one area. She served several terms on the Extension Advisory Council, representing both 4-H and Family and Community Health Sciences (FCHS) and served on various FCHS committees. Additionally, she represented Cape May County on the Southern Regional Home Economics Advisory Council and worked to expand the Home Economics program locally.
The height of Rea’s leadership commitment was her involvement with the Board of Agriculture as a member and a director. She represented Cape May County on the Farm Bureau Women’s Committee, served as vice president and president of the Board of Agriculture, and in 1997 received the Distinguished Service Agriculture Award from the board for her service and dedication to the board.
Frank Germanio, Jr., president of the Cape May County Board of Agriculture, stated, “It is an honor to present this award to Diane who has generously given of her time, energy and knowledge in service to our youth and community for so many years.” Germanio, Jr. added, “As a child in the 4-H program, I saw firsthand the impact Diane’s actions have had on the youth of Cape May County having been a member of the Pitchforks and Buckets 4-H Club – a club that Diane played such an important leadership role in.”
The Extension Advisory Council members are volunteers who help to advise the faculty and staff who direct the three program areas of Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County.
Each year, the council awards an individual or group who has made a difference in at least one of the three program areas of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 4-H Youth Development, and Family and Community Health Sciences.