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Extension service staffers rack up honors for their service

Henderson County commissioners recognized Agriculture Extension Service staffers Keai Tilly, Steve Pettis, Karen Blaedow and Terry Kelley (not shown) for awards they won.

Henderson County’s Agriculture Extension Service staff racked up numerous honors during the annual awards ceremony at the state extension conference this month in Greensboro.

Steve Pettis won the Lois Britt Award for Outstanding Extension Agent. This award goes to one agent each year in the state that has excelled in their programming and leadership efforts. Steve has been the Horticulture agent in Henderson County for almost six years.

Keai Tilly won the Grange Award for Excellence for Administrative Assistant. The Grange Awards are given each year to recognize exceptional work in various areas. This is the only award designated for administrative assistants. If you have been to our office and met Keai, you know how deserving of this award she was. Keai has been a member of our staff since January 2020.
Karen Blaedow won two awards. The first, the Extension Leadership Award, recognizes accomplishments that have helped reduce cost, increase efficiency and increase productivity that exceed normal expectations. Blaedow’s work with our tomato growers have helped them in all of these areas. The second award was the Grange Search for Excellence Award for agricultural agents, which recognizes the accomplishments and impacts of the employee over a period of time. An extension agent here for six years, Blaedow is a specialist in vegetables and small fruit and offers programs that are some of the best in the state.
TerryKelley22Terry KelleyFinally, Terry Kelley was awarded the Carol Birkhead Award for Outstanding County Extension Director. This award is given for excellence in the following areas
• How the director’s administrative style involves others in decision-making processes.
• How the director recognizes and develops others.
• How the director encourages excellence in program areas and teamwork.
• Recognition of the director’s leadership ability by others in the county.
• Significant contributions or changes he/she has made in the County Extension Program(s).
Terry has been the Director of Henderson County Extension since May 2017.
“We are very proud of our staff and their accomplishments,” said Kelley, who has been ag extension director since May 2017. “These recognitions are well-deserved. We have other staff members who are equally skilled and equally important to our office. Most have not been with us long enough to qualify for most award opportunities. So, be looking for more honors for the Henderson County staff in coming years. We appreciate the support of the county, N.C. State and our volunteers in helping our office serve Henderson County.”