« Retirement reception to honor Extension trio | Main | Forages conferences will feature international expert on livestock and wildlife grazing behavior »

December 18, 2009

Former NC 4-H'er reinacts historic ribbon cutting from 1959

Larry Dilda 2009
Larry Dilda of Pitt County, left, participates in a 50th anniversary re-enactment of the dedication of the National 4-H Conference Center. With him are Anita Hollmer Hodson, right, and Don Floyd, president and CEO, National 4-H Council.

Fifty years ago, North Carolina 4-H’er Larry Dilda of Pitt County stood with President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the steps of the National 4-H Conference Center in Washington, D.C. for the ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the dedication of the center. Dilda was a 4-H Conference delegate that year, and president of the N.C. State College Collegiate 4-H Club, 1959-60. Dilda stood with Anita Hollmer Hodson, a New York 4-H’er, who was also on hand at the historic event, marking the opening of the center and the first-ever National 4-H Conference.

Dilda was on hand again to celebrate the conference center’s 50th birthday. On October 9, the National 4-H Heritage Club charter members gathered on the steps of JC Penney Hall (called Smith Hall in 1959) to witness the reenactment of the 1959 ribbon cutting. Hodson and Dilda were present to resume their historic roles. Don Floyd, National 4-H Council President and CEO played the role of President Eisenhower and cut the ribbon that marked the beginning of National 4-H Youth Conference Center’s next 50 years.

Delegates to the 1959 conference were the first to stay at center and eat meals in the cafeteria, which was completed during the first day of the conference. The center’s beds were delivered the day before Conference and the volunteers working late into the night to prepare the beds for the first visitors. Delegates rode buses with police escorts to conference programs and evening dinners held at USDA or at a downtown hotel. They also visited their U.S. senators and representatives on Capitol Hill.

Dilda 1959
This is the original photo taken at the 1959 dedication of the National 4-H Center. Dilda and Hodson appear with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Today, the National 4-H Conference Center continues to serve 4-H’ers from around the country who are visiting the nation’s capital. Also, 4-H’ers earn the right attend the annual National 4-H Conference by competing in their state’s Application, Resume and Interview program. After a career in the U.S. Air Force, Dilda has returned to his hometown of Fountain in Pitt County, where he continues to advocate for 4-H.

Posted by Natalie at December 18, 2009 02:58 PM