GREENUP Appalachia in general and Greenup County in particular has a rich soil history.
Families have farmed for generations, plowing the fertile land between the hills and along the streams and river, and raising all types of animals, from chickens to beef cattle. The knowledge of how to do this, how to perpetuate regional independence and self-sufficiency, has been passed down from generation to generation and developed through the seasons.
But often there have been interruptions, a move from farm to factory or another vocation, which could have left this knowledge unused or, even worse, forgotten. Sometimes it does happen, but not always.
Thanks to the efforts of people like Harold Rice, at least the seed of the dream of chicken coops and barns, cornfields and colorful vegetables, is being preserved to one day take root with future generations. During his decades of service in 4H, Rice has helped teach generations of children how to sew, how to cook, and how to take care of their health…he has helped teach them the self-reliance their ancestors stood for. known, as well as the community they felt.
In short, Rice was instrumental in helping children become better people.
“I really liked this guy,” said local outdoor personality Tom Clay.
Clay was in attendance for Rice’s Celebration of Life at the Greenup County Fairgrounds on Saturday.
“At the time, Mr. Rice was going through every school,” Clay said. The time he was referring to was long before elementary school consolidation began, and Rice spent a good deal of his time going to each school and talking to them about 4H. Clay said Rice would visit each school and then start the cycle over.
“Our parents grew up on farms,” Clay said. “But we lived in the big city of South Shore when I was a kid, and we didn’t have a garden. It was Mr. Rice who actually showed us that corn goes into the ground and you only cover it about an inch or an inch and a half because you don’t want to plant it too deep.
“And on a special day he might bring a little pig or something,” Clay said, recalling when he looked forward to visits from Rice in the 1960s. have ever seen. and that’s why it was so important to us to go to the county fair every year.
Clay said he would like to see a “school day” at the county fair as he remembered from his childhood.
“Harold Rice is the one who taught us to love this stuff, and we haven’t forgotten him.”
Clay said he was grateful circumstances allowed him to speak with Rice for about 15 minutes shortly before his passing and tell her how much he meant to a little fourth grader at McKell Elementary there. all these years.
Current Greenup County 4H Officer Presley Grubb said after Rice’s death it came to their attention that many people wanted to pay their respects to the man who had done so much for the county over the past of his decades of service.
“Everyone wanted to honor all the things they’ve done for the community,” Grubb said. “So the committee came together with the common interest of celebrating his life and remembering all the things he did for the region, and the contributions he made to all the organizations in which he served.”
Grubb said the committee is made up of representatives from many of these organizations, as well as other members of the community.
Board members include Lisa and Terry Osborne of Farm Bureau; Grubb herself with Linda Hieneman, George Hieneman, Anne Stephens, and summer intern Gabe Potter from the extension office; Winnie Thacker, Jennifer Smith and Blaine Roberts.
“We all came together with the same goal of honoring him,” Grubb said. “And today we’re going to launch an endowment in his honor.”
Grubb said the goal is, once fully funded, that the interest from the endowment will help cover the costs for students in advance leadership opportunities, whether it’s camps, competitions in state fairs or any other event where attendance might be a financial burden. for them.
“If there is a financial burden, the committee may use the endowment funds to help a student compete who otherwise could not.”
Grubb said anyone interested can donate to the endowment via a link (tristatefoundation.org), by mail to Foundation for the Tri-State PO Box 2096 Ashland, Ky 41105 Memo: Harold Rice Memorial Endowment, or directly to the office extension.