Local 4-H leaders Sallees installed in national Hall of Fame

Sherman (Sherm) and Fay Sallee, of Lebanon, were inducted Oct. 14 into the National 4-H Hall of Fame for their lifetime achievements and contributions. 

Honored by Oregon State University and the Oregon 4-H Youth Development Program, the Sallees were among 16 people inducted during the ceremony held at the Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.

Honorees are nominated by their home states, National 4-H Council; the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals (NAE4-HYDP); or the Division of Youth and 4-H, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) based upon their leadership at the local, state, national and international levels. They were presented with a National 4-H Hall of Fame medallion, plaque and memory book during the ceremony.

Sherm and Fay Sallee are probably the only volunteers so committed to 4-H programs that they actually designed their home to include rooms that allow not one, but two 4-H meetings with at least 15 in attendance at each to be held simultaneously. They host 4-H project meetings at their home at least three days a week.

Fay was a 10-year Oregon 4-H member, involved in numerous projects, contests and leadership activities both locally and statewide. Her involvement culminated in being selected as a delegate to National 4-H Club Congress in 1960. Selected as a 1965 International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) delegate, she headed to Nepal, where she lived with 12 different families over a six-month period. Upon her return, she shared her knowledge across the state.

After completing her IFYE responsibilities, Fay married Sherm Sallee. She re-entered the 4-H program in Kentucky as a volunteer and convinced Sherm to join her. While following Sherm’s Air Force career from 1966-1985, they volunteered for 4-H programs in Alabama, Delaware, Ohio and Florida. (Combined, the Sallees have now volunteered in the 4-H program for 85 years and over four generations.)

In 1985, the couple moved to Linn County, where their 45-acre tree farm in Lebanon provides an array of outdoor educational opportunities. They designed their Clever Clovers Club to accommodate all family members’ projects under one banner. Throughout the years, multiple members have represented Oregon at National 4-H Congress and other out-of-state opportunities. The Sallees have also supported international programs and hosted numerous delegates from around the world.

Sherm and Fay have been members of the Oregon 4-H Natural Science Committee for more than 20 years and have served as state fair superintendents in the Natural Science area for a quarter-century..

Their expertise has helped Oregon build a strong Natural Resource program for the state, one that’s been shared regionally and nationally through publications and presentations. Fay is a contributing author on numerous publications related to entomology and forestry. In 2000 they traveled to Hawaii to present at the Western Region Leaders’ Forum on Entomology and Forestry. Fay has served as a mentor to both faculty and volunteers across the state. 

Recognition of the Sallees’ hard work includes being named Linn County 4-H Leader of the Year a number of times. In 2005 they were inducted into the Oregon 4-H Hall of Fame. In addition, they are the only individuals with two Oregon State University Extension Association Cooperator Awards, which recognizes individuals with significant contributions to Extension programming in Oregon. In 1995 they were recognized for their contributions and they were again recognized in 2010 for their continued contributions (along with Fay’s parents, Bert and Betty Udell). They also received a National Tree Farmer Award and OSWA Award for Outstanding Service.

The Sallees’ efforts don’t end with 4-H. They share their zest for life with another local group, the Oregon Small Woodlands Association (OSWA). Their decades-long involvement and dedication have helped create a robust Linn County chapter. Their most notable efforts include publishing The Quarterly Bark, a newsletter Sherm edited for nearly 20 years, and conducting the annual Tree Seedling Sale, which the couple envisioned and launched nearly 25 years ago. The sale has proven so successful that OSWA provides four $1,000 college scholarships to students studying forestry or a related field and $1,600 for 4-H forestry awards every year. 

The National 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2002 as part of the Centennial Project of National Association of Extension 4-H Agents in partnership with National 4-H Council and National 4-H Headquarters at USDA.

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