A Kodiak woman has been named to the National 4-H Hall of Fame. The Cooperative Extension service at the University of Alaska Fairbanks says that the honor goes to Marie Rice, a long time 4-H member and leader. If you hear it from her friends, it’s a wonder she didn’t get the honor sooner.
“I can’t think of a more deserving person than Marie,” said Marion Owen, a longtime friend to Rice and fellow green thumb.
Owen says that Rice has always gone above and beyond the call.
“We did workshops, and she brought her tools and extra gloves and it was just an amazing thing to see this person bigger than life, helping others it was… it was just (an) extraordinary lesson for me about selfless giving,” said Owen.
4-H is a youth development group dedicated to advancing the life skills of children all over America. It has historically been tied to advancing rural living and agriculture by educating the young members in a community, which rings true in Kodiak.
Rice helped to bring 4-H to Kodiak back in the 70s. She remained involved as a leader and 4-H council member for 46 years. Many traditions local to Kodiak 4-H began with Rice, including the community sourdough pancake breakfast fundraiser. Rice said she once prepared no less than 10 five-gallon buckets of sourdough batter for the event.
Those in Kodiak who are touched by her work won’t hesitate to tell you what a giving person she is.
“…a soul that expands way beyond the limits of just her physical body. And that goes for all the things that she would teach. And I always felt that she didn’t sleep,” said Owen
Rice herself, now 80, can hardly see what all the fuss is about.
“I’m pretty modest about it… don’t want… people to get tired of hearing about this, but… and I feel very honored for the, the attention that I’ve gotten,” said Rice.
The ceremony to induct Rice into the hall of fame has been delayed to October of 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The ceremony will be held at the National 4-H conference center in Maryland.