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Three Rio Arriba County residents inducted into New Mexico 4-H Hall of Fame

Rio Arriba County residents Berniece Coriz, Debbie Manzanares and Alma "Skeeter" Schmitz were 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.


One man and three ladies.
Rick Richardson, interim department head of the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service's 4-H Youth Development Program, left, presents plaques to Debbie Manzanares, Alma "Skeeter" Schmitz and Berniece Coriz, all of Rio Arriba County honoring them as a 2013 inductees 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."

Coriz, Manzanares and Schmitz were inducted along with the late Jimmie Dee Fox of De Baca County; Martha Sayles of Dona Ana County; the late Elmer Allen of Hidalgo County; Janie Hardin and Fran Welch, both of Roosevelt County; and Timothy and Charla Johnson of Sandoval County.

Coriz takes an active role in ensuring her 4-H members have as many opportunities as possible to gain life skills. She has served as the Bobcats 4-H Club leader for the past 17 years. She has served multiple terms on the leadership board of the New Mexico State Leaders Association. She continues to be a great example of a club leader, County 4-H Council Adviser and project leader.

She has also served as a presenter at the New Mexico 4-H Adult Forum, sharing her expertise with leaders from all over the state.

Manzanares has been a supporter of 4-H for more than 15 years. Her ever-giving nature is an example of the heart of 4-H. She has spent endless hours to gain funding to support local 4-H and FFA activities.

Through her management skills Manzanares has led the Mustang 4-H Club to be the largest club in Rio Arriba County. Over the years she has led multiple projects as a leader and continues to foster new avenues for the benefit of the Mustang 4-H club members.

Schmitz has devoted the past 30 years to providing positive opportunities for youth to gain exceptional life skills. As an advocate for agriculture and the ranching lifestyle, she led the Lindrith Roadrunner 4-H Club with a stern but loving manner. A dedicated leader, she has been known to give endless hours to assist youth in completing record books.

While encouraging members to take an active role in club activities and financial management, "Ms. Skeeter" held her members to a high standard in presentations, public speaking, livestock judging and parliamentary procedure. She continues to be involved in the county fair and mentor new organizational leaders.