Alabama 4-H Wall of Fame

Curtis and Susie Franklin

Calhoun County 4-H Volunteers

Inducted March 19, 2013

Curtis and Susie Franklin* served Calhoun County and surrounding counties youth for many years through volunteer work at Coosa Valley Youth Services (CVYS).

The Franklins learned and loved gardening from their parents and grandparents. In 1994, they came into the Calhoun County Extension office inquiring about volunteering. Calhoun County Extension Coordinator David West had just begun a Master Gardener program, and CVYS had inquired about a horticulture therapy program for their youth.

After completing the Master Gardener class, the Franklins helped West develop and begin the Tree Amigos 4-H Group at CVYS.

In 2005, CVYS received a grant to help the cadets of tl1e Camp Lewis (now Lewis Academy), the residential facility, achieve employability skills. Susie taught the young men how to be more successful through proper etiquette training. The cadets enjoyed the class and learned more than they expected.

The Tree Amigos program has won local, national and international awards. The current program was estimated to have an economic impact of more than $1 million each year. The impact on each young person and the community is immeasurable.

Susie served until the time of her death as secretary and coordinator of the Tree Amigos 4-H program.

Both Curtis and Susie served as judges for many 4-H programs. Curtis’ favorite contest to judge was Chicken-Que and Susie’s was anything where the 4-H’ers used their creativity.

The youth and staff at CVYS all considered the Franklins their adopted grandparents. They looked forward to Wednesday when they would arrive for their classes. After their deaths, a tree was planted in memory of the Franklins and the classroom at the CVYS Attention Home was named after them. CVYS thought this was the most fitting way to honor such special people for their contributions to the youth around Calhoun County and the surrounding areas.

Nominated by Tiffany Moore, Randolph County Extension Coordinator