It is fitting that this important event be dedicated to Cormier. He began his involvement with 4-H as a 4-H Agent in LaFourche Parish in January of 1973. He served as 4-H Agent in LaFourche for five years and then Vermilion Parish for eight years. Under his guidance 4-H members and the 4-H program as whole prospered. His specialties were beef, horse and engineering projects. He was responsible for one of the largest 4-H beef programs in the state with over 100 calves exhibited per year.
The 4-H Trail Ride to benefit St. Jude’s and the 4-H Foundation was Cormier’s creation and was held for 16 years with as many as 150 riders. His work with engineering projects resulted in numerous state winners in tractor driving, automotive skills and small engines contests. He was instrumental in starting the Engineering Quiz Bowl at 4-H Short Course.
His impact was not limited to his specialties. Vermilion 4-H became a model for other parishes to follow during his tenure. Four Nolan Reech trophies in a row for first place sweepstakes award at State 4-H Short Course were earned by Vermilion 4-H’ers during his time as the lead 4-H Agent. One of the most active and award winning 4-H Junior Leader Clubs was a product of his efforts. He served the State 4-H Program through his involvement with the Louisiana 4-H Agents’ Association and with numerous state committees.
When Cormier’s responsibilities changed to work with adult Extension programs in 1986, his involvement with 4-H did not end. He continued to train 4-H’ers in sheep shearing, engineering and forestry contests. His involvement with the 4-H Horse Program led to the institution of the Master Horseman Project which trains adults to lead 4-H Horse Project members. The Master Horseman Program is still ongoing.
He stayed active in all major 4-H activities including Achievement Day, Livestock Shows, Horse Shows and the Cattle Festival.
Cormier’s concern and dedication to the youth of Vermilion Parish has had a lasting impact on a large group of Vermilion Parish residents. They still seek his advice and council today. His 4-H’ers are parents of 4-H’ers participating actively in the program which is probably the best testament to the experiences he provided during his long involvement with the program.
Cormier is married to Sarah Bailey and they raised two children, Jason and Holly, and he has two grandchildren.
It is with great gratitude and respect that the 4-H members of Vermilion Parish dedicate the 2009 4-H Achievement Day to Howard Cormier.