Lexington, Ky. – Lora Lee Howard has been empowering Kentuckians to lead fuller, healthier lives since 1981 as a University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Clay County. Recently, she received recognition for those efforts when the Joint Council of Extension Professionals named her the 2015 Family and Consumer Sciences Professional of the Year.
She received the honor at the National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences annual meeting earlier this month in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
“I was very humbled to receive this honor,” she said. “I share this award with the businesses, organizations and individuals that work cooperatively and volunteer their time to provide successful programs to improve the well-being of families in Clay County.”
Through the years, Howard has spearheaded many programs and services from her Clay County base, and she has held many officer positions in professional development organizations. She’s also won numerous awards throughout her tenure in Cooperative Extension.
Howard has a long list of county programs she has initiated, many supporting women’s health and nutrition. She has encouraged women to take part in cancer screenings, exercise programs and financial health programs, and she played a key role in creating a leader’s guide for Green Gardening.
“Every educational program that Lora Lee presents is focused on improving not only the life of the individual participant, but the family as a whole,” said Louise Moore, UK Cooperative Extension District 2 director. “Whether it is teaching about nutrition, the importance of taking care of your health, increasing your physical activity or making handmade gifts, her programs provide tips on including the family in the activity, saving the family dollars or increasing family communication.”
The Joint Council of Extension Professionals was created in 1989 and is a partnership of professional extension organizations that focuses on strengthening the efforts of the member organizations and and accomplishes things jointly that cannot be accomplished individually.
The Professional of the Year award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated successful interdisciplinary teamwork and partnerships across program areas for program excellence throughout a significant part of their extension career.
“We are often told to find a job that we love and we will not work a day in our life; that happened to me,” said Howard. “My career as a family and consumer sciences agent has allowed me to work with many different individuals in a variety of roles to impact my community. I like to think that the work I am doing today will live on in the lives of the families and women impacting our community tomorrow and for years to come.”