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Kettle rings to service

Local longtime volunteer gives free time to 4-H

Diane Prather

— Valentine’s Day is coming up.

There’s no better time to remember special people in our community, such as those who take time out from their busy schedules to volunteer their help in various service groups.

Marie Kettle is such a volunteer.

When Marie isn’t working in the emergency room at The Memorial Hospital in Craig, she’s likely helping 4-H members with their projects.

Marie’s work as a 4-H leader began 27 years ago. Her daughter, Teresa, wanted to learn to crochet, and she wanted to do it in 4-H. Leaders were needed, and since Marie already knew how to crochet, she signed up to be that 4-H leader.

So, the Chain Gang 4-H Club got its start.

In the beginning, it was for crocheting only, but about 10 years ago, the 4-H knitting leader was in ailing health. So, the knitting group joined the Chain Gang.

Today, the Chain Gang has members in both crocheting and knitting. Marie said Andre Huffmire joined the group as co-leader, to teach the knitting part, and still helps out when she can.

The Chain Gang meets January through May, and then as needed until fair time. Marie said the enrollment varies from year to year, but the average is probably five knitting and three to four crocheting members.

Marie remembers one year when there were 21 members enrolled in crocheting. It was the largest group she ever had.

“Then,” she said, “we were looking for help.”

At meetings, after she gets members started, Marie works on projects of her own, too. Such as making sweaters, afghans and mittens.

“The girls have a good time,” Marie said. “They socialize, learn skills and help one another.

“It’s very rewarding to work with youth, watch them learn new skills, create projects and be able to wear their projects, too.

“I’m amazed at what they can do when they learn skills.”

Marie reported that Chain Gang members have received numerous Grand, Reserve Grand and first-place ribbons, both locally and at the state fair.

In her early years of 4-H leadership, Marie also taught beginning leathercraft.

“My son, Jim, was in leathercraft, so that’s why I became its leader,” she said. “What all we do for our kids.”

Early on, Marie helped with the Moffat County Fair, setting up and helping with the judging.

At the 2006 4-H Achievement Night, Marie was recognized for 25 years of 4-H leadership and was awarded a plaque for Outstanding 4-H Leader.

At the 2007 Moffat County Fair, Marie was recognized as Moffat County Fair Honorary Volunteer.

Marie has been married to Ron for 40 years. Her daughter Teresa and grandson Clayton live in Fort Morgan, and her son Jim and his wife, Linda, live in Springerville, Ariz.

Ron is a self-employed appraiser. Marie has worked at The Memorial Hospital for 31 years. She is an emergency room nurse.

Ron and Marie have raised paint and quarter horses for 15 to 20 years. They take horses to paint shows at places such as Grand Junction. Other people show the Kettles’ horses at the Stock Show.

Marie is a wife, mother, grandmother, nurse and 4-H volunteer. She also has worked hard to complete her RN-BSN studies.

In May, Marie will graduate from Mesa State College after completing studies online, as part of an outreach program for RNs.


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