MAPLE PARK – Maple Park resident Jean Fabrizius said she thought of her father last month when she was recognized at the Illinois State Fair as one of 65 inductees to the Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame.
“My dad was a 4-H leader of the Somonauk Haymakers when I was in it,” the 55-year-old said, noting her father died in March. “I just really thought of him when I was standing on stage. I did right by Dad, I guess.”
The Illinois 4-H Foundation established the Hall of Fame in 2004 to honor and celebrate extraordinary 4-H alumni, volunteers and former staff members. As a Hall of Fame inductee, Fabrizius received a medallion and will be added to the virtual 4-H Hall of Fame list.
Fabrizius, who works as a client adviser at Resource Bank in DeKalb, belongs to the ninth and largest class of inductees since the recognition began. Fabrizius described the honor as “surreal.”
“I was just speechless when I heard I was being inducted into the Hall of Fame,” she said.
Fabrizius is not only a 4-H alumna, but she is also a longtime volunteer. Her involvement as an adult began when her oldest child, who’s now 25, joined the Maple Park Lincoln Highway club at age 8, she said.
Her other children went with her to the meetings, she said, noting the youngest would sit on her lap.
“We just all got involved as a family immediately,” Fabrizius said, “and we never looked back.”
Her youngest son recently finished his participation with 4-H, making this the first year the family hasn’t showed at the fair, she said. Her three children showed pigs and goats at several fairs, including the Sandwich Fair and county fairs in Kane, DuPage, Grundy, Boone and Kendall counties.
But, she said, that doesn’t mean her involvement with the organization will end.
“I believe in 4-H very much,” Fabrizius said. “I think I will continue to be involved and support the organization.”
Her involvement includes serving as a member of the Blue Ribbon Sale Committee as well as the Unit 5 combined council and co-chairing the kitchen committee for the annual Kane County 4-H Foundation Pork Chop Dinner and Fundraiser.
“Jean is an outstanding leader and example for our youth in Kane County,” Sandra Davis, director of University of Illinois Extension for DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties, said in a written statement. “She is a compassionate, dedicated and generous volunteer, and we are grateful to have her as an integral part of our program.”