Writer: Susan Himes, 325-657-7315, Susan.Himes@ag.tamu.edu
SAN ANGELO – Two Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agents in District 7 were honored earlier this month at the Texas A&M AgriLife Conference at College Station.
Retired AgriLife Extension agent Jane Rowan, Taylor County, was recognized with the Distinguished Career Award, while AgriLife Extension agent Tom Guthrie, Mills County, received a Superior Service Award.
Rowan served for 35 years as a county agent with a focus on family and community health, spending the last five years of her career in Taylor County. As a result of her programs on memory and Alzheimer’s education, Rowan was inspired to become certified as an Alzheimer Support Group Facilitator by the North Central Texas Alzheimer’s Association.
Over the course of Rowan’s career, she led a variety of successful programs, which addressed aging and fall prevention, diabetes education, food safety, Better Living for Texans, 4-H youth development and volunteer management.
“Mrs. Rowan’s continued dedication to this agency shows in everything she does, from her strong volunteer base to her successful program efforts including programs such as A Matter of Balance,” said Lorrie Coop, AgriLife Extension family and community health agent, Knox County.
“I can honestly say I am the agent I am today because of the guidance and encouragement she provided to me as a new agent,” said Coop. “She has touched the lives of and shaped the careers of many agents in the same way and is very deserving of recognition for her dedicated service to both her colleagues and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.”
Rowan was previously recognized with district awards including the Outstanding Programming Award in 2012 and the Outstanding In-Depth Programming and Making A Difference Team Award in 2017.
Guthrie has worked in Mills County for 15 years as an AgriLife Extension agent in agriculture and natural resources. His high-quality educational programs and 4-H management has led to recognition throughout the state.
“Tom Guthrie is an exceptional county agent who embraces the AgriLife Extension philosophy and the program development process in Mills County,” said Marty Gibbs, AgriLife Extension District 7 administrator, San Angelo.
“He is a model AgriLife Extension agent who serves the needs of his county. I have relied on Tom Guthrie to serve as a mentor agent, early career agent instructor, and to provide leadership to district agents through his involvement with Texas County Agricultural Agents Association.”
Guthrie has served as the district treasurer for TCAAA since 2008 and served a term as the organization’s district director from 2013-2015.
“My work interactions with Tom revolve around the 4-H youth program,” said Garry Branham, AgriLife Extension 4-H program specialist, San Angelo. “He recognizes the importance of positive youth development and the integral part it plays in a total county program.
“Whereas many of our counties have activities and roles split up amongst the agents, he is responsible for everything, including the coordination of 4-H efforts related to family and community health. I can always count on Tom to assist with the district-related events.”
Branham also shared that under Guthrie, 4-H participation grew as much as 158 percent in a single year. Last year, 4-H enrollment for Mills County reached 118, the largest number Mills County has seen since they started keeping records.
“Tom is highly respected among his peers – he is a truly outstanding example of what a county agent should be. He is professional, knowledgeable and genuinely makes a difference in his community and throughout AgriLife Extension,” said Allison Watkins, AgriLife Extension agent, Tom Green County, who nominated Guthrie for the award.
“As the only agent in the county, Tom has successfully implemented and carried out a wide variety of programs for 4-H youth as well as adults, and has become a well-respected, key member of his community,” Watkins said.