Terril Faul, former state leader of Louisiana 4-H and a native of Church Point, Louisiana, will be inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame on Oct. 10 in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Faul spent the majority of his 41-year career with 4-H responsibilities, including six years as the state leader. (Photo by Craig Gautreaux)
News Release Distributed 08/28/14
BATON ROUGE, La. – Terril Faul did not get the opportunity to participate in 4-H as a child. But as an adult he had the opportunity to shape the minds and character of countless 4-H students through a distinguished career as a parish 4-H agent and later as the state leader for Louisiana 4-H.
Faul’s contribution to Louisiana 4-H was so significant he will be inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame on Oct. 10 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Faul is the 12th person from Louisiana to be honored. The others are W.C. Abbott, Jack Bagent, Virgie Foreman, Kellett Hathorn, Stella Jones, Ann Keene, Joan McCrory, C.J. Naquin, Leroy Robbins, Victor Leander Roy and Tom Scott.
4-H is the nation’s largest youth organization. In Louisiana more than 245,000 youth participate in 4-H activities, which are administered through the LSU AgCenter.
Faul grew up near Church Point in Acadia Parish. Growing up on a farm of cotton and sweet potatoes meant there was little time for other activities, including being a 4-H member. “I had to work in the fields with my family,” he said. “I felt that I did miss out on something special.”
After graduating from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Faul began his 41-year extension career in 1970 as an extension agent in Vermilion Parish, where much of his time was devoted to 4-H work.
Murphy Veillon, the parish chair at the time, gave Faul one piece of advice that stayed with him throughout his career. “He told me in this line of work that you may not get rich, but you will meet some of the finest people. And he was right,” Faul said.
After six months in Vermilion Parish, Faul was drafted into the Army for a tour of duty in Vietnam. Upon his return, the Vermilion position was filled, so Faul began an 18-month assignment in Avoyelles Parish. He returned to Vermilion Parish in 1973.
Faul rose through the ranks of the extension service, including a stint as a district agent for the south central area of the state. In 2001, he was appointed state 4-H leader. In the six years Faul served as state leader, he was instrumental in expanding 4-H opportunities through a variety of new and innovative programs.
Coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of 4-H in the United States in 2002, Faul was able to help secure the establishment of the 4-H license plate with the proceeds benefitting the Louisiana 4-H Foundation.
Another major event that year was the first 4-H Day at the Capitol, an event that drew more than 1,200 students, agents and volunteers. It’s to get 4-H members to interact with their legislative representatives and learn how laws and regulations are enacted.
A secondary purpose is to expose legislators to the positive influence 4-H has on the lives of students across the state and to see the importance of funding the youth organization. The event has become an annual event on the 4-H calendar.
In 2005, Faul’s leadership skills were instrumental as the state was reeling from the devastation caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He helped establish a hurricane relief fund for AgCenter employees and 4-H members. Forty-seven states contributed to the fund that raised $179,000, assembled 5,660 care boxes and wrote nearly 1,200 letters of encouragement.
One of the most memorable events involved NBA player Amare Stoudemire, then with the Phoenix Suns organization. Stoudemire agreed to donate 10 Toyota Prius cars to 4-H volunteers who had been affected by the hurricanes.
“The 10 volunteers were told that only one car was going to be given away and that the winner’s name would be drawn. When Mr. Stoudemire told them they were all getting cars, the looks on their faces were priceless. Some were jumping up and down, and some were overcome with emotion and crying. It was unforgettable,” Faul said.
During his tenure, he helped oversee a transformation of 4-H activities to meet the needs of a more diverse and more urbanized audience. While livestock and camping programs remain, the evolution of outdoor skills programs along with science and technology opportunities greatly increased under Faul.
In 2007, Faul retired as state leader of 4-H, but his contributions did not stop. He continued to oversee many of the signature events that began during his time as state leader. He played a leading role in 4-H Day at the Capitol, the 4-H Dinner at the Governor’s Mansion, the annual 4-H Tailgate Party, an event designed to get youngsters to tour the campus and an opportunity to attend an LSU football game, and 4-H Night with the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.
He also administered 4-H University, the annual state event that includes the election of state executive officers, state contests and both noncompetitive and educational programs for 1,300 4-H members on the LSU campus.
In 2012, Faul reluctantly gave up those duties, but he still remains active with 4-H by donating his time, providing $1,000 in scholarship money and serving on various 4-H committees.
“I had the luxury of starting in 4-H and finishing in 4-H. And from top to bottom, I have worked with many outstanding people. I truly loved my job and working with the many 4-H members and volunteers. It was the perfect job for me,” Faul said.