The Switzerland County 4-H Fair honored two longtime contributors to the program at last week’s fair, naming Ginger Furnish as “Mrs. Switzerland County” and Frank Kappes as “Mr. Switzerland County.”
The two were honored in the middle of the steer show on Thursday, July 13th.
Ginger Furnish began her lifelong love affair with the 4-H program by carpooling kids from Fairview Road up Bradford Road and over to Carolyn and Norris Works’ farm to be a part of the East Enterprise Boys and Girls Club. She then helped start the Country Kids club, along with Sue Armstrong, Judy Kappes, and Nancy Turner. She continued as a co-leader of that club until her youngest child’s 10th year.
A teacher in the Switzerland County School System, Ginger retired from teaching and in 2006, she began her second career as a Switzerland County Extension Educator.
For seven years in that role, she enjoying going into classrooms and doing programs for students. She became known as “Professor Popcorn” to many children.
In 2013, she retired from the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service.
When you add up all the time she’s spent in the 4-H program with her four children and four grandchildren, Ginger can boast 80 years in 4-H, with all completing their 10 years.
But she’s not done yet, as she’s still working on five more grandchildren and two great grandchildren to complete all of their 10 years.
Frank Kappes also has a long history with the Switzerland County 4-H program.
He served as a leader and also a fairboard member for more than 15 years; and assisted in the hog barn with his brother, Lou Kappes, for many years. Frank was also in charge of the cattle barn for more than 10 years.
Outside of the show arena, Frank helped family members run the kitchen on the fairgrounds for more than 20 years; and has always been ready to help with grandstand events when needed; along with helping keep the fairgrounds clean and the garbage cans emptied. He’s a true servant to the children and the program.
Frank has always enjoyed teaching and encouraging the kids to do showmanship at the fair, helping each one with their animals.
Many of the Kappes family vacations were spent at the fair, leaving the grounds only after the last grandstand event would end, sometimes as early as 2 a.m.; and then be back to care for animals at 7 a.m. Sometimes wedged in between were runs to pick up supplies and food for the kitchen.
Frank and his wife, Debbie, were married on July 26th, 1980, and they have three children: David Kappes, Casie Hannan, and Jennifer Kappes; and seven grandchildren: Trenton Whitham, Rylee Hankins, Nora Hankins, Madison Kappes, Timothy Kappes, Jennifer Kappes, and Quentin Hannan.