HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Sue McCombie, a Somerset County 4-H volunteer and member of the Somerset County 4-H Association, has been recognized by the New Jersey Association of 4-H Agents with the 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award for her significant contributions to the 4-H program.

This award, which is presented annually, recognizes an individual or a group for outstanding contributions to the 4-H Youth Development Program of Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

As a volunteer leader for the past 22 years, McCombiehas led both the 4-H Upcycle Club and the 4-H Garden and Bee Club. She also helped create the 4-H Holiday Dinner – a free, public dinner open to all on Christmas which brings the community together. Having started over eight years ago and serving around forty attendees, the dinner has grown to a crew of forty volunteers and 140 attendees. 

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To help generate funds and donations for the Holiday Dinner, as well as provide a place for clubs to showcase their projects, McCombie also developed the 4-H Festival of Trees. Clubs and outside nonprofit organizations decorate trees with handmade ornaments, which are ultimately sold with proceeds going directly towards the Holiday Dinner. Starting with just a handful of trees, it has grown into a two day event with forty trees to explore, a gingerbread competition, visits from Santa Claus, choral groups, live animals, and more.

Eager to keep Somerset County 4-H growing, McCombie also worked with Guinness World Records to create the world’s longest textile braid. Ultimately measuring over 5,217 feet, this project incorporated over 200 Somerset County 4-H members and volunteers. After the braid was completed and received the Guinness Record distinction, the braid was made into rugs that were auctioned and sold – with all profits supporting the Holiday Dinner.