GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The UF/IFAS Extension 4-H Youth Development Program and Florida 4-H Foundation are honored to announce the 2023 inductees to the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame: Betsy Barfield of Jefferson County, Todd Bundy of Gadsden and Leon Counties, William “Bill” Hill of Polk and Hernando Counties, Larry Middour of Orange County, and Christopher Tompkins of Hillsborough County (posthumous).
The induction event will be held Thursday, August 3, 2023 at the University of Florida Reitz Union. Click here for event and sponsorship information.
Established in 2002 during the national 4-H centennial year, the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding 4-H alumni, volunteers, professionals and community leaders. Members have made significant contributions to 4-H and their community through accomplishments in the areas of citizenship, leadership, career and character.
Betsy Barfield | Jefferson County
Barfield grew up as a 4-H member in Jefferson County participating in the clothing and textile project and public speaking. Her favorite 4-H memories are at 4-H Camp Cherry Lake in Madison, Florida. Knowing the impact 4-H can have in a young person’s life, Betsy founded the Dirty Pecan bike event in 2015 to benefit Jefferson County 4-H’ers. This unique off-road bike event attracts hundreds of riders from across the country and Canada. Through her hard work and partnership with 4-H and community supporters, the event has raised more than $100,000 to provide opportunities for Jefferson 4-H youth to attend camps and leadership events.
Betsy served as a Jefferson County Commissioner for twelve years, and in 2010 was fundamental in securing support to relocate the UF/IFAS Extension Jefferson County office to its current location. The space provides better facilities and space for 4-H and other community programs, and is the starting line for the annual Dirty Pecan ride.
Rose Murray of Blue Sky Farm in Monticello highlighted in her nomination, “Betsy continues to live out the 4-H motto ‘Make the Best Better’ by advocating for 4-H and serving her community.”
Todd Bundy | Gadsden and Leon Counties
Bundy has been a passionate 4-H member and advocate for more than 44 years. As a youth he participated in many 4-H programs including state and national events, and serving as a 4-H state officer. Bundy has continued to give back, including multiple terms on the Florida 4-H Foundation Board of Directors and leading a number of fundraising efforts with passionate tenacity. For 16 years he helped lead the annual 4-H Silent Auction in Tallahassee, and in 2020 he led the revival of the auction as a virtual opportunity. In three years, the virtual auction has raised more than $60,000 for youth statewide to participate in 4-H summer programs.
Through 4-H, Bundy received the Danforth “I Dare You” Award in 1986 to attend the American Youth Foundation’s National Leadership Conference at Camp Miniwanca on Lake Michigan. This summer Todd will return to Michigan for his 36th year as a volunteer staff member and mentor to youth.
Fellow Camp Miniwanca volunteer Teddy Pins, a Realtor in Nashville, Tennessee, shared, “Bundy inspires and leads me and others to be our best selves while always serving with a generous, kind, and true heart. The Mayor, as he is known around camp, is always eager and ready to serve. His work ethic and commitment to the team is unwavering and infectious. Never have I met someone with the eagerness to serve while giving the greatest kindness, sincerity, humor, and style.”
William “Bill” Hill | Polk and Hernando Counties
Hill is a celebrated and effective Extension and 4-H professional. During his career he served as the UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Extension Director and 4-H agent for thirteen years, and as the Hernando County 4-H agent for fifteen years. He was instrumental in the growth of the 4-H Shooting Sports program, seeing the opportunity to teach life skills through a popular area of interest. He trained volunteers statewide to support growing youth interest, hosted county and state competitions, and was successful in building relationships with funders and securing support through major organizations.
Hill hired current UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Extension Director Nicole Walker into her first position as a 4-H agent. She reflected on his service and leadership, stating, “there was no bigger advocate for getting kids engaged in 4-H, no matter the youth’s background or community. He took 4-H to them, and got the adults excited to serve in a way that recruited new members and let them have fun with their own kids. I wish I could express fully the level of admiration so many have for Mr. Hill and his direct impact on their 4-H experiences, and the character lessons they learned from him—lessons I also learned from him.”
Walker also highlights that during his time, Mr. Hill represented one of a handful of non-white 4-H agents serving predominantly white communities. “He had the ability to build trust as the communities he served saw he truly cared for them,” she said.
Larry T. Middour | Orange County
Middour competed in archery as a youth, and throughout his life has shared his spark with countless young people through both 4-H and Boy Scouts of America. Fellow volunteer for the Orange County 4-H Silent Shooters Archery Club, Rett Polachek, describes Middour’s approach to helping youth cultivate lives of service as caring, responsible, respectful and productive citizens. “He earns their respect and teaches them about respecting others, giving courtesy, and taking responsibility in every aspect of the skills he is teaching, whether in archery, outdoor skills, or the myriad of life skills associated with projects he is working on with them,” shares Polachek.
Service is a hallmark of Middour’s life. He is a veteran of the US Navy, and served aboard the USS Hunt. Each year he works with the American Legion and 4-H to organize a community service project to honor veterans for Memorial Day by placing hundreds of flags on the graves of veterans.
Tthe Orange County 4-H archery field flooded with over a foot of water following hurricanes in 2022. Middour led the assessment of equipment damage and oversaw the clean-up of the facilities. Middour brought his work with 4-H and Boy Scouts together by enlisting a local Boy Scout to replace the storage unit flooring and reconstruct damaged benches on the archery line as his Eagle Scout project. Middour continues to impact youth as an active and engaged 4-H volunteer and community member.
Christopher “Chris” Tompkins | Hillsborough County
Tompkins made a lasting impact on all who knew him. His legacy of leadership at a young age impacted the careers of many fellow 4-H youth. Warren Brooks, Executive Director of Career, Technical and Adult Education for Hillsborough County Public Schools, shares, “I am not sure if there has ever been a student more decorated than Christopher Tompkins. His drive to succeed I have not witnessed in any other, however instead of focusing on all his awards, his real impact was his ability to elevate others and encourage them to grow personally.” Tompkins influenced Brooks’s own evolution from a shy, quiet kid to a 4-H state officer traveling the country; experiences that would impact his own career. This is a common testament from those who knew Tompkins.
As a student at the University of Florida Tompkins continued to succeed and serve. He became UF’s first Truman Scholar, and in his final year of law school served as UF Student Government president. Tompkins worked with multiple elected officials before opening his own law firm in Brandon. Chris Tompkins passed away in 2005 at the age 34 after a battle with leukemia. His legacy is marked by dedicated service, authentic leadership, and firm belief in the importance of citizenship and community service.
Special thanks to Hall of Fame Sponsors
- Lewis, Longman & Walker, P.A.
- Friends of the Florida 4-H Foundation
Event and youth sponsorships are available. Nominations for the 2024 inductee class are accepted online now through January 31, 2024. For questions, contact Caylin Hilton at grow4H@ifas.ufl.edu or 352.392.5432.
4-H is the youth development program of the land-grant university system and Cooperative Extension System. 4-H provides hands-on educational experiences for youth ages five to 18 with the objective of developing youth as individuals, and as responsible and productive citizens. In Florida, 4-H is administered by University of Florida/IFAS Extension and Florida A&M University. Learn more at florida4h.org.