Congressman visits extension service in Perry

awoolen@macon.comMarch 26, 2014 

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott speaks to Teddie Berry, Houston County program assistant for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, during Scott’s March 18 visit to the county’s extension office.

ANGELA WOOLEN/THE SUN NEWS — awoolen@macon.com

PERRY -- The University of Georgia Extension Office in Houston County demonstrated the importance of its programs last week to U.S. Rep. Austin Scott.

Scott’s March 18 visit was a precursor to the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which is May 8. The cooperative extension service was formed by the act, according to a news release.

The Houston County Extension service started in 2003 and includes 4-H, Master Gardeners programs and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program teaches low-income families how to eat healthier on a budget, said Rebecca Creasy, program agent.

Since its inception, the Houston County branch of the extension office has grown from servicing one school the first year to 12 schools.

“The extension has done a lot for America,” Scott said.

Extension service volunteers logged more than 50,000 hours in 2013, said Charlotte Mote, county coordinator.

Last week in the extension office, members of midstate 4-H clubs donned green jackets to talk about the impact the club had on their lives.

“It teaches us the professional skills to succeed in life,” said 17-year-old Kevin Braski.

Braski, who attends Mount de Sales Academy in Macon, started in 4-H club in elementary school.

His sister, 16-year-old Claire Braski, told the small group she wouldn’t be a public speaker if it hadn’t been for the guidance she received from 4-H.

Their father, Pat Braski, who owns Chick-fil-A restaurants in Houston County, asked Scott not to cut funding to the 4-H programs. His wife is a former extension agent, and his children have been involved for many years.

“You can cut many things but not this one,” Pat Braski said.

According to its website, the UGA Extension is a county, state and federally funded organization.

Scott, a Republican from Ashburn, agreed on the importance of funding programs whose focus is to educate students on where their food comes from along with leadership skills.

“We talk a lot about reading, writing and arithmetic,” Scott said. “These programs make us who we are.”

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