For the past 10 years, one of the fixtures of the Palo Alto County Fair has been Devona Perkins, the Business Manager of the Palo Alto County Fair Association. In that role, Perkins has played a role in nominating several Palo Alto County residents for addition into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame over the years. But on Thursday night, July 19, the roles were reverse, as County 4-H Youth Extension Service Julie Naig announced Perkins as the 2012 4-H Hall Of Fame nominee from Palo Alto County.
Perkins was completely taken by surprise as she was called to the stage of the Open Air Pavilion at the Palo Alto County Fairgrounds. Naig then presented the nomination biography to a large crowd. Perkins' induction biography is as follows:
"The Palo Alto County 4-H program and fair would not be what it is today without the efforts of a very special lady. Devona Perkins of Emmetsburg began her 4-H career when she was in the fifth grade as a member of the Sioux Braves 4-H Club. She excelled in many project area, especially photography, communications and food and nutrition. At her county fairs, she was dubbed the "Queen" of the Pride of Iowa event, because she won every year. She was also chosen the Buena Vista County Fair Queen, but without a sash and way to compete at the State Fair. Her County Extension forgot to register for a queen entry, so she couldn't compete at he State level. She also attended many State conferences and served on county council and the State 4-H Council.
HALL?OF?FAME?INDUCTEE - Devona Perkins, left, is introduced as the 2012 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame Inductee at the Palo Alto County Fair Thursday, July 19. Palo Alto County Extension Youth Education Director Julie Naig, right, highlighted Perkins’ association with 4-H as a leader, volunteer and the Business Manager of the Palo Alto County Fair Association. Perkins will be inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame next month at the Iowa State Fair. -- Dan Voigt photo
Shortly after moving to Emmetsburg with her husband Fred, Devona showed an interest in becoming involved with 4-H and the fair in Palo Alto County. On January 21, 2002, Devona was appointed as the business manager of the Palo Alto County Fair Board. Since then, she has spent countless hours organizing the last 12 county fairs. The fair runs smoothly and exhibitor's premium checks are in the mail due to her diligence and dedication to the position. One standout contribution to the fair board is Devona's grant writing skills. As business manager, she has secured six grants for fairground improvements from the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation for a total of $197,234.50.
Devona has also been a much-appreciated volunteer for the county 4-H program. She has been a co-leader for the Junior Clippers 4-H club for the last 12 years. Throughout those years she has helped numerous 4-H'ers with their 4-H exhibits and communication events. Her outgoing personality and words of encouragement have motivated many 4-H'ers to achieve even more than they, themselves, thought they could. She chaperoned two Citizenship Washington Focus Trips in 2006 and 2008 and was a State Conference chaperone for six years and the Area Housing Coordinator for the last two years. She has worked many county lock-ins, judged at a number of county fairs in the area and even picked up a road ditch or two.
In 2009, Devona was awarded the 4-H Alumni Award at the county awards banquet for her contributions to 4-H and now Palo Alto County is proud and honored to have her as their 2012 inductee to the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame. Devona joins past inductees from Palo Alto County, which include Julie Nelson, Angie Beem, Ray Brown, Merrylea Clasing, Helen Anliker, Tim Naig, Dan Voigt, Terrry Rouse and Bert and Julie Naig."
Perkins is employed as an office assistant for Mehan, Holland-Central Financial Group in Emmetsburg. She lives with her husband Fred on acreage on the southeast side of Emmetsburg.
The 4-H Hall of Fame ceremony takes place on the last Sunday of the Iowa State Fair in the 4-H Exhibits Building. The 4-H Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program and the Iowa 4-H Foundation and was initiated in 2002 to help commemorate the 100th Anniversary of 4-H.