Decades of work with Cochranton Grange, the Crawford County Fair and especially her 29 years as a 4-H leader, not to mention time spent on the family’s 11-acre farm and numerous other agricultural pursuits, have earned Margaret Gevin of Cochranton election to the Crawford County Agricultural Hall of Fame.
The fact that such elections are becoming something of a family tradition was helpful in explaining to her grandchildren what the hall of fame status means.
“My older sister got it years back and also my foster father-in-law,” Gevin said, referring to Edith Shuffstall and Bill Morris, respectively, “so I felt pretty special when I got it.”
Paula Lucas, the oldest of the three daughters Gevin led through 4-H, works as a 4-H educator at the Crawford County Penn State Extension office, where hall of famers are honored with a display.
“How do you explain to a 10-year-old what the award is?” Lucas asked rhetorically. The answer is easier when you can tell them: “Now ‘Grammy’ is going to be on the wall at the extension office.”
Of course, that answer soon raises another question: When will Grammy be on the wall?
Gevin’s lifetime of agricultural involvement will be recognized in August when she is inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Crawford County Fair. Along with Gevin, Scott Preston of Titusville will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. T. R. Shearer Ag Industries Inc. of Carlton will receive the Agriculture Industry Award.
The awards are administered by the Crawford County Pomona Grange and will be presented during an open program at 2 p.m. Aug. 19 in the fair’s Youth Show Arena. Recipients are selected by agricultural organizations and previous Hall of Fame inductees.
Gevin has been around agriculture her entire life, having grown up in Union Township. Her family had a nursery, a farm and sold Christmas trees and baked goods at the Meadville Market House when she was young.
After participating in 4-H herself, she introduced the three girls she had with husband Milo to livestock and 4-H, raising sheep, swine, beef and chicken on the family farm in East Fairfield Township. Though she took a break from work when she had children, Gevin also spent nearly 30 years as an employee in the Crawford County Register and Recorder’s Office and the Assessment Office.
The farm — and her work with 4-H — were a constant, however, even as she returned to work.
“Her vacation was to go to work at the fair,” Lucas said, recalling how the Gevins and a number of other nearby families would spend weekend after weekend at one fair in the region followed by another, from August through September, usually followed by a trip for some of them to Harrisburg in October.
The reason for her involvement had a lot to do with how 4-H shapes young people.
“I’ve watched a lot of kids succeed through the program,” Gevin said, not just learning to care for livestock but learning to speak in public and gaining confidence and professionalism in the process. “You can watch them grow from when they’re first in 4-H until when they’re done. ... I’ve watched kids grow up through the program.”
The 4-H experience provides lasting benefits much more valuable than the ribbons they may or may not win at the fair, according to Gevin.
“If you raise animal and show it, you’re a blue ribbon kid even if you don’t get a blue ribbon in the show ring,” she said. “That’s what I try to stress to the kids — that they’re blue ribbon kids in life, not just in the show ring.”
Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agricultural organizations and previous recipients have selected winners of the 2018 Crawford County Agriculture Hall of Fame & Ag Industry Awards. The awards will be presented at an open program at 2 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Crawford County Fairgrounds' Youth Show Arena. Stories on this year's winners began to be published Saturday and continue through Monday. The second Hall of Fame honoree is Margaret Gevin.