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Dona Ana County resident inducted into New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame

Martha Sayles of Dona Ana County was among the 10 4-H leaders and supporters inducted into the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame in July at New Mexico State University. The induction ceremony, which was held during the 4-H State Conference, included individual recognition for the inductees and a breakfast.


A man and a women holding a plaque - woman is in a white jacket.
Rick Richardson, interim department head of the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service's 4-H Youth Development Program, left, presents a plaque to Martha Sayles of Dona Ana County honoring her as a 2013 inductee into the New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

The hall of fame, established in 2002, honors 4-H members, volunteer leaders, fair superintendents, advisory board members, 4-H Foundation trustees and former faculty with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, which administers 4-H statewide.

"This is the highest honor we have to offer people who have provided support and service to 4-H members in New Mexico," said Rick Richardson, interim department head of the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service's 4-H Youth Development Program. "These individuals have given cumulatively more than 210 years of service to the New Mexico 4-H program. Including this group, we have inducted 195 individuals and couples into the hall of fame."

Sayles was inducted along with the late Jimmie Dee Fox of De Baca County; the late Elmer Allen of Hidalgo County; Berniece Coriz, Debbie Manzanares and Alma "Skeeter" Schmitz, all of Rio Arriba County; Janie Hardin and Fran Welch, both of Roosevelt County; and Timothy and Charla Johnson of Sandoval County.

In her 46 years volunteering with 4-H, Sayles has coached, critiqued and judged numerous demonstrations and public speeches. She has been instrumental in bringing horse, public speaking and demonstration to the New Mexico State 4-H Conference so that 4-H members had an opportunity to go to national contests in these areas.

In the 70s, Sayles organized and started the Town and County 4-H Club in Dona Ana County. The club was a multi-purpose 4-H club that did sewing, cooking, horse, public speaking, garden and consumer education projects.

As a parent and a leader, Sayles helped form the Dona Ana County Parent Leader Organization and established the 4-H ambassador program in Dona Ana County.

She and her husband, Danley, have furnished horses for county, district and state 4-H horse judging contests. Both have served as judges for numerous local, district, state and national 4-H horse shows.

Sayles has represented Dona Ana County on the New Mexico Extension and Research Support Council for 30 years and will tell anyone who asks that 4-H is the best activity for youth.