Papillion resident named 4-H Volunteer of the Year

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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 12:00 am

JT Oltman, of Papillion, is sort of a 4-H lifer.

He has been involved with the agricultural organization since before he was allowed to compete, helping his two older sisters with their projects.

But, as soon as he turned eight, the age children become eligible to participate in 4-H, Oltman competed in as many categories as he could.

“I showed ducks and rabbits and pigs,” he said. “When I was eight, I showed a bucket calf. And then I showed sheep. I did a lot of the livestock stuff, and then I also did baking. I built a fishing rod and a first aid kit and posters.”

Participating in 4-H has been a family tradition of sorts for JT's family. It was something that his grandparents, parents and now him and his sisters do.

Throughout his time in the organization, he has won several awards including showmanship awards, livestock awards, senior showmanship and more.

At 23-years-old, he is no longer able to compete and show animals, the age-range to be eligible to compete is 8 to 19, Oltman has still been able to stay involved with the club.

He is now using his experiences and knowledge to help younger 4-H'ers who are new to the project or seasoned competitors who need help with whatever project they are working on.

“If there is anybody new to their project, I'll show them how to show their project for showmanship and just how to take care of it,” he said.

With Oltman's help and expertise, Sarpy County's 4-H reputation, as a whole, has also benefited.

Oltman, one of his sisters and another competitor built up Sarpy County's rabbit showing ability and have made their work available for competitors to use as a guide.

“A few years ago I did a lot with rabbits,” he said, “People would listen to my rabbit speech and then they would build their own speech from that.”

With their help, competitors have been able to win awards at the Sarpy County fair, including state titles in rabbit showing.

All of Oltman's hard work and dedication hasn't gone unnoticed, either.

On Oct. 15, Oltman made the two hour drive home from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he is studying Agriculture Business, under the false pretenses that his mother was winning an award.

Instead, it was Oltman who was winning an award.

The 2013 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award, for which he was nominated by one of the students he helps out on a regular basis, Catherine Jones.

There are several names entered to win the award, but Oltman was the one chosen.

“It's very cool,” he said. “It was very exciting to win the award and it does mean a lot to me. It's a great honor to see that people see (what I'm doing.)”

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