Deal to Be Inducted to NC 4-H Hall of Fame

— Written By Sarah Kocher and last updated by
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Lisa Deal will be inducted on April 29, 2023 to the North Carolina 4-H Hall of Fame for her service to the organization. The induction ceremony for the local volunteer will take place in Raleigh and is hosted by NC State Extension.

Deal, resident of Granite Falls and the Baton community, started with 4-H when her oldest daughter was 4 years old. She started off in the Caldwell County 4-H Saddle Club and ran the club with Debbie Burns of Lenoir for about 6 years. She has remained an active volunteer of the Saddle Club since then. Sometimes this was as a leader of the club and other times she would be a regular adult volunteer, pitching in wherever help was needed. Most recently, Deal returned to serve as a club leader in 2021.

“Lisa Deal invited me to join a 4-H club many years ago and has inspired and supported me in more recent years to take on leadership roles in the club,” said Erin Shows, current Saddle Club president. “I have volunteered with Lisa at many 4-H camps and events, and her love for the children and 4-H is evident. Over the years I have been in 4-H, I have watched her plan and execute countless events focused on keeping the children engaged, learning, and most of all having fun. Lisa Deal encouraged my love for 4-H and my passion for volunteering.”

In 1999, Deal became the 4-H program assistant for Caldwell County and worked until August 27, 2015. In that time, she reached more than 1,000 kids by helping chaperone camping weeks, attending 15 teen retreats, 15 North Carolina 4-H Congress events, 10 leader-in-training (LIT) conferences for Betsy-Jeff Penn, 14 state council conferences, and multiple volunteer leadership meetings across the state.

Alumni also reflect on Deal’s impact.

“She taught me to face my fears and nerves, whether that be with horses or within leadership roles,” said Makenzie Denning, who graduated from South Caldwell High School in 2020 and now attends Gardner Webb University. “When I started 4-H I was a very shy and quiet kid. With Lisa’s encouragement and guidance, she helped me to come out of my shell and do things I never thought that I would.”

4-H members and Lisa Deal pose with their horses and ribbons after a horse show in 2003.

4-H members and Lisa Deal pose with their horses and ribbons after a horse show in 2003.

Another talks about the personal and community impact Deal has made.

“Lisa Deal is and has been a staple of Caldwell County 4-H,” said Sarah Christas. “As a kid, I was obsessed with horses and joined the 4-H Saddle Club in 2003. I was able to learn more about horses, horse safety, and my personal favorite, how to ride in a rodeo!”

She continued, “I fondly remember Lisa’s horse camp she put on in the summers. I learned how to saddle a horse, clean their hooves, and trail ride. Lisa fostered my love for horses and helped me understand what it was to be a responsible horse owner and rider! The fact that the very same horse camp I went to almost 20 years ago is still going strong and positively impacting kids’ lives like it did mine, is a true testament to her dedication to 4-H.”

Lisa Deal presents about horse safety for a group of riders in 2021 at Anita Alta.

Lisa Deal presents about horse safety for a group of riders in 2021 at Anita Alta.

Deal plans to once again partner with 4-H to offer a summer horsemanship camp in 2023. Registration will open later this spring.

Outside of her involvement with 4-H, Deal is currently an exceptional children teacher’s assistant at Granite Falls Middle School. She works with 6th-8th grade students.

Her daughter, Autumn Penny of Lenoir, said one aspect Deal “absolutely loves” about her job is helping kids engage their social skills with their peers and achieve their academic goals for the year.

Penny said her mom also encourages some of the families with exceptional children to try 4-H, and she helps promote an inclusive environment at 4-H activities.

“She makes the participants feel great and like they can do anything they put their minds to with their horse,” said Shannon Coleman, 4-H youth development agent in Cherokee County.

Beyond Caldwell County’s borders, Deal has volunteered as secretary of the West District 4-H Horse Advisory Council and as a chairperson for the West District 4-H Horse Show.

“She has always done a great job,” Coleman said. “She has helped with teaching our beginner and Cloverbud-mounted participants at the West District 4-H Horse Clinic.”

Lisa Deal works with a beginning rider, Benjamin Joplin, in 2012.

Lisa Deal works with a beginning rider, Benjamin Joplin, in 2012.

Deal has helped to find people to support all of the district’s horse activities from the horse show to a horse quiz bowl contest and annual horsemanship clinic.

Notes of congratulations for Deal can be delivered to the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Caldwell County Center at 120 Hospital Ave, Suite 1, Lenoir, NC 28645.

To learn more about how youth can participate in 4-H or to learn about local volunteer opportunities, contact Caldwell County 4-H Agent Sarah Kocher at Local 4-H information is also available online.

Caldwell County 4-H is a proud member agency of United Way.

Sarah Kocher is the 4-H Youth Development Agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension, Caldwell County Center. The N.C. Cooperative Extension, Caldwell County Center, 120 Hospital Ave. NE #1 in Lenoir, provides access to resources of N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University through educational programs and publications.