Virginia State Senator R. Edward Houck (D-17) of Spotsylvania, Va., received a National Friend of Extension Award from Epsilon Sigma Phi for his service and commitment to Virginia Cooperative Extension. The Extension honorary organization recognized Houck at its national conference in Annapolis, Md., in November.
Houck, whose district includes the counties of Culpeper, Louisa, Madison, and Orange and parts of Spotsylvania and the City of Fredericksburg, earned a State Friend of Extension Award from Epsilon Sigma Phi’s Alpha Gamma chapter in May. He was one of three national winners selected from state honorees around the country.
“This honor gives national recognition to Senator Houck’s leadership, service, and advocacy on behalf of Virginia Cooperative Extension,” said Mark McCann, director of Virginia Cooperative Extension. “The senator’s efforts have strengthened and improved the effectiveness of Extension for the benefit of all citizens in communities across Virginia.”
Houck forged a close relationship with Virginia Cooperative Extension early in his career. With an eye on grassroots community needs and the importance of education, he has made a point of getting to know local Extension agents and staff members. He not only stays informed about Extension programming but also participates in stakeholder programs on a regular basis.
He served as a corporate board member of the Northern Virginia 4-H Educational Center and has been a volunteer with the 4-H Youth in Government Program. For the past six years, Houck and his legislative staff have hosted the 4-H Legislative Day Shamrock program and served as important resources for state 4-H volunteers and members visiting the capitol. He also supports 4-H livestock programs by purchasing project animals at the 4-H Livestock Auction every year.
Houck has been recognized many times by county Extension Leadership Councils and Extension units in the district for his special efforts on behalf of Virginia Cooperative Extension. For the past two years, he has been the chief patron in the senate for support for Virginia Cooperative Extension. As a result, Extension has had the resources to restore more than 59 agent and specialist positions across the commonwealth.
Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based agents, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 13 agricultural research and extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.