Before Doris Belcher retired as Columbia County's extension service agent in 1989, she said, she questioned whether she was making strides with 4-H Club members.
Doris Belcher, a retired Columbia County extension agent, was recognized by Columbia County Commissioners in March for her 32 years of service.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"You wonder if you really made a difference," Belcher, a Harlem resident, said about community extension program projects she had 4-H members participate in.
She now has her answer.
"I see a lot of my 4-Hers that have gotten grown. It's always a big hello and big hug," she said. "When (4-H members) can remember you and can come and say some of these things, it sort of tells you that you might have made a difference. I think that's rewarding.''
On March 1, Belcher was honored at the county's Board of Commissioner's meeting for her hard work, dedication and 32 years of service with the county's extension program.
"It was a surprise," Belcher said, adding that Commissioner Lee Anderson, a former 4-H member, presented her with the award.
Anderson said Belcher was a phenomenal mentor who knew how to encourage people.
"She knew how to bring the best out in a child," he said.
Nowadays, Belcher continues to support 4-H programs, and she also invests her time volunteering in the community with groups at a local nursing home, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Relay for Life.
"I think she's a wonderful person," said Jean Dove, Harlem's city administrator, who works closely with Belcher on the city's Relay for Life committee.
"She gives me inspiration when I need it. She's sort of the cheerleader and motivator in my group."
When she was 8 years old, Belcher said she loved to sew, make dresses and perform interior design projects. So, when it was time for her to go to college at the then-Fort Valley College, she said, she knew she wanted to pursue a bachelor of science degree in home economics education. Shortly after graduating, she migrated to Harlem from her native Jackson, Ga., and began her career.
"Extension service is my love," she said.
"It's just the greatest thing I could have ever done in my life, because the people are there and you don't ever forget them, and they don't ever forget you."
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