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Debi Lechner

2012, Larry Fischer Leadership and Spirit Award

Debi Lechner

Debi Lechner has had a life-long passion for the 4-H program. Debi was a nine-year member of the Busy Beavers 4-H Club, and she has been a leader in the New Generation and Calico Clovers of McHenry County for the past 26 years.

Some of Debi’s many activities include organizing, planning and selling the county 4-H cookbooks, planning and working the annual chicken dinner fundraiser, working the county fair food stand booths each year, and organizing 50/50 raffles. In fact, Debi is affectionately known as “the 50/50 lady” by many 4-H families. Debi was an original member of the group that started the String-Tie/Green-Tie fundraiser, which raises thousands of dollars for the county program.

Don Schellhaass, the McHenry County Extension director, has worked with Debi for more than 20 years. “I have had the opportunity to work with Debi on a number of fundraising activities in support of the 4-H program,” said Schellhaass. “She plays a key role in organizing these events, and is instrumental in their success.”

Debi was awarded the Emerald Clover Award in 2011, in recognition of her commitment to and impact on the 4-H program and the youth in McHenry County. She has been active on the McHenry County 4-H Youth Foundation for the past 14 years, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors.

Janine Heidtke, the 4-H youth program coordinator in McHenry County, said, “Debi has a never-ending passion for the 4-H program. I can only hope that more volunteers will share the same passion and commitment that she has shown has over the years.”

Debi and her husband Ed have five children. “All five of my children were in 4-H,” said Lechner. “My father was in 4-H, I was in 4-H, and I want my grandchildren to have the same opportunities when they are old enough.

“So that’s why I stay involved,” she concluded. “We need to make sure that this program continues to stay strong in our county. We are helping our youth to become leaders. We need to keep a program that is so good for our youth, to make sure we’re making the best better.”

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