Powell honored with reception

Published 9:10 pm Monday, March 22, 2010

Tammy Powell took a deep breath, in fact, the retiring Pike County Extension coordinator, took several deep breaths Sunday afternoon. The breaths were an attempt to “take it all in” without losing her composure.

Powell was surrounded by several hundred co-workers, local 4-H Club members from 26 years under her leadership, family members and friends at a retirement reception held in her honor at Cattleman Park Sunday afternoon, March 21.

Powell said she was humbled and honored by the recognition and the outpouring of well wishes extended to her.

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“I was humbled and overwhelmed,” Powell said. “Truly, those are the only two words I know to describe by feelings. I’m an only child but I am blessed to have such a huge extended family. I thank all of you for helping me make it through all these years.”

The lives of all those who packed Cattleman Park Sunday afternoon have been impacted in some way by Tammy Powell. And, most of those through their association with Powell as coordinator of the Pike County Extension Office.

For many, Powell is “4-H.”

Perhaps, Vicki Bowen, a former Pike County 4-H Club member, said it best.

“Mrs. Powell is a legacy,” she said. “She has made each of our lives better and her legacy lives in all of us.”

In describing their “Energizer Bunny” leader, a parade of 4-H’ers chose their words carefully. Powell, they said, expected model behavior and 110 percent effort in all they did.

“She was our inspiration and she earned our respect,” said Josh Graham.

Kate Johnson said Powell is the personification of the 4-H motto, “To make the best better.”

“She brought out the best in me,” Johnson said.

Former 4-H Club member, Candace Harvey, was unable to attend Powell’s retirement celebration but sent a letter to be read.

“You can’t say 4-H without saying Tammy Powell,” Harvey wrote. “She was my mentor, my role model and my second mom. I would not be as accomplished or as fulfilled if it had not been for this wonderful lady. I’m proud to be one of her many children.”

Powell has worked for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System for 32 years. Twenty-six of those years have been at the Pike County Extension Office.

Sheron Mitchell, Pike County Extension Office administrative associate, has worked with Powell since 2004 and said her retirement will leave a void that cannot be filled.

“Tammy Powell is active, gregarious,” Mitchell said. “She’s a dynamo. Her hands are everywhere. I’ve never seen anybody with as much constructive energy.

“She has been so much help to me and just knowing her has gotten me in many doors. She is a very attentive and concerned boss. I will miss her. She will be missed in many places and by many people because she is the kind of person who makes a difference in the lives of others.”

For her years of dedicated service to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the thousands of lives she has positively influenced through her leadership of the 4-H program, Dr. Paul Waddy, East Alabama Regional Office district director, presented Powell with a recognition plaque and certificate from the state office.

“When I didn’t know something, I knew who to ask,” Waddy said. “Tammy has made my job so much easier. She has been a friend as well as a co-worker and she will be missed but we’re not going to let her go too far.”

Waddy said Powell has positively influenced thousands of young people through the 4-H Clubs and her influence will continue to be felt for many years to come.

However, her influence did not stop with the young people of Pike County, said John Dorrill, president of the Pike County Farmers Federation.

“Tammy has been very supportive of all farming organizations,” Dorrill said.

“The Pike County Farmers Federation, the Pike County Cattlemen’s Association, the Pike County Cattlewomen’s Association and the Wiregrass Market Association have all benefited from her leadership. She will be missed but we still expect her to be a part of all that we do.”

Powell promised that she will still be around and involved in youth and farm related activities and events.

“And, if I can help any of you in any way, I will,” she said.