Larry and Jan Hiller have been married for 52 years, but their connection to 4-H goes back much further than that.
“We’ve both been involved in 4-H since we were nine years old,” said Larry Hiller, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Horticulture at WSU. “We both grew up in 4-H and it was very important in our lives.”
“Both of my parents, Larry’s parents, and some of our grandparents, were involved with 4-H as well,” Jan Hiller added.
The couple even met in college as active members of the Iowa State University Campus 4-H Club.
Jan Hiller, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Human Development at WSU, turned her involvement in 4-H into a career, working as an Extension 4-H Youth Development Specialist for many years. In 2013 she was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame.
Jan specialized in volunteer development as part of her work with Extension. She was also responsible for the Food and Nutrition, Clothing and Textiles, and Home Furnishings 4-H projects. Now she and Larry are spending time volunteering and donating to projects of their own choice.
One such project is the 4-H partnership in Burundi, led by Mary Katherine Deen and Kevin Wright. The Hillers pledged to match 10 percent of all donations made to the project by September 2014. People donated $4,300 by the deadline, but the couple decided to increase their pledge, donating $500.
“Their dedication to this project is much appreciated,” Wright said. “This will help support our team as we go to Burundi to establish 4-H there.”
“When we heard about this project, we knew immediately that we wanted to help Mary Katherine and Kevin,” Larry Heller said. “Africa has been a center of 4-H development programs for a long time, plus our own international experiences and travels to Africa convinced us to do what we can to help.”