Losses noted by 4-H community leaders during fair
The Lycoming County 4-H clubs have a large presence at the county fair. Their projects are prominent in the Grange building, and in the livestock area where animals raised by youth are shown, judged and auctioned.
Fair time marks the end of the year’s projects with the awarding of premium ribbons. This year the usual jubilant time was subdued as the 4-H community suffered the loss of two leaders since the 2013 fair.
Those leaders were Ray Perchinski Jr. age 60 of Elimsport, affiliated with the Keystone Kountry Club, and was livestock committee chair, and Steve Peterman, 60 of Muncy, and leader of the Hughesville area Green Valley 4-H Club, the species chair of the goat and rabbit section.
On the fairground, tangible tributes were established in memory of the two former leaders. Perchinski was honored with the erection of a large signboard designed by Greg Girven with listings of individuals and businesses who purchase 4-H raised animals.
Steve Peterman, (1953-2013) was remembered with the remodeling of the Livestock office by Joyce and Reubin Stugart, Greg Girven and Steve Delany. “Steve was devoted to livestock and had been chairman nearly two decades,” Girven said.
Cindy Shaner of the Green Valley group said, “Steve was a great man. He took time to teach challenged children how to shoot a crossbow as they were unable to use regular ones.”
“Regardless of what club 4-H members were from, Steve put the kids first,” said Stacey Girven. “He made himself available anytime to give advice.”
Steve’s sister-in-law, Betty Delany of Muncy said, “There were years we wouldn’t have made it without Steve, his shoes will be difficult to fill.”
Rounding out the comments about Steve was Craig Knipe of Cogan Station. “He was a great person to work with, a big guy with a teddy heart. The youth respected him and sought him out for advice.”
Many of Steve’s peers quoted the leader who’d often said, “We’re in this for the kids.”
Ray Perchinski Junior (1961-2014) was charged with the department having goats and rabbits. Accolades to Ray’s volunteerism were shared by many including Cindy Shaner who said, “About five years ago, Ray introduced meat rabbits to the clubs saying they were easy to raise. He took us to a show in State College where we won first place our first time showing. Due to his encouragement and teachability, a rabbit barn was built here on the grounds.”
While students at Montoursville High Schiool, Clay Koser met Ray through the Future Farmers of America Club (FFA), Koser said Ray lived up to the FFA motto which is, “Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live and living to serve.” His former fellow student had worked at feed stores in Muncy, Montoursville, and the old Agway. “He was a great leader, exceptional, fun and loved hunting too,” Koser said.
Rachel Danneker, age 17 of Williamsport who had known Ray through the St. John Neumann school system, gave a youth’s point of view. “For five years, Ray coached my school softball team referring to us as “His Girls.'” When he was a youngster he’d played at Nicely Field and on Little League team for Mill Creek. “Ray was like family,” Danneker said.
A memorial walk-a-thon was held at the fairgrounds on Thursday evening July 17. Funds raised will benefit 4-H youth activities including camp and scholarships.
Also remembered was Vicki Lewis of Williamsport, an employee of the county’s Penn State Extension office. Lewis passed away just prior to fair time last year.
The Thursday evening activity included posting memories on balloons and releasing them into the air. In memory of all three, a trio of fire lanterns were also released floating upward and away leaving all to wonder who will fill their shoes.