Fort Bend County agent receives 2011 Superior Service Award for distinguished career

COLLEGE STATION — Dwight Callis, Texas AgriLife Extension Service agent for 4-H and youth development in Fort Bend County, has been awarded the agency’s 2011 Superior Service Award for a distinguished career.

According to guidelines, the Superior Service Award is given to agency personnel providing outstanding performance or exceptional service to AgriLife Extension, an educational outreach agency of the Texas A&M University System. Individuals eligible for the distinguished career award must have been with the agency a minimum of 20 years.

Callis started his career in 1979 as an AgriLife Extension assistant in Jackson County. He also served in Austin County, then in 1987 moved to Fort Bend County where he has overseen 4-H and youth development activities for the past 25 years.

“Dwight is an eternal optimist and those close to him know that he is not fond of awards, so he was reluctant to allow me to visit with him regarding this nomination,” said  Vincent Mannino, AgriLife Extension director for Fort Bend County, who submitted the award nomination. “Still, his career speaks for itself and reflects the impact and influence he has had on the Texas 4-H Program and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service as a whole.”

In his nomination, Mannino said Callis was a role model for 4-H youth who can be proud of his is “32 years of memories, successes and superior service.”

“During his time in Austin County, Dwight recognized the need for livestock project clubs,” Mannino said. “He observed his students to have a focused interest in a given species and sought to develop sequential learning experiences to facilitate understanding. He designed a project club to have at least six learning experiences to reinforce learning.”

Residents of Austin County appreciated Callis’ club structure and design, as well as his innovative approach to livestock project management, he said.

“The workshops he organized focused of showmanship, nutrition, animal health and ethics,” Mannino said. “Dwight often talks about putting your ego aside, and that has been the secret to his running a successful county 4-H program. For example, although he is a skilled livestock judge and project manager, he asks for others to help so he may include them in managing livestock projects.”

In his nomination, Callis was cited for his development of 4-H families, successful educational workshops, volunteer development, involvement in the 4-H Livestock Mentor Program and Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassadors program, and commitment to developing 4-H youth and adult leadership.

He was also cited for his involvement in the creation of the Quality Counts program and his service on the Quality Counts Committee, which focused on guidelines for the ethical treatment of animals. According to his nomination the fruits of his efforts are being realized in this year’s major livestock shows, as students exhibiting livestock are first required to complete a Quality Counts exam.

“Not only does Dwight uphold high standards for himself, he expects the same from his 4-H members and parents alike,” Mannino said. “He teaches our youth to do the right thing and make the right decisions in raising show animals to yield a top-quality product. In the business world we call that quality assurance. And when you put all of these ingredients together, you have what we call Quality Counts.”

“The result of his tireless efforts has been creating one of the most diverse 4-H programs in the state of Texas,” Mannino said. “Dwight represents the best that Texas AgriLife Extension Service has to offer. I can think of absolutely no one who is more deserving of this award.”

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