Charles and Louise Wintermantel always have considered community involvement a top priority. Whether serving on the school board, teaching Sunday school or volunteering at the county fair, they have demonstrated leadership skills in many arenas.
With this in mind, the Douglas County Extension Council recently recognized the rural Baldwin couple's contributions with its 1991 Appreciation Award.
Tom Thompson, president of the extension service's executive board, said the annual award was intended to honor a person or married couple who had made outstanding and extensive contributions to extension programs during a period of years.
A CITATION read at the time of the award, during the extension council's annual meeting in November, heralded the Wintermantel's involvement in extension service programs, particularly 4-H.
Mrs. Wintermantel, 49, grew up in the Clinton Lake area, and her husband, 52, was reared in Baldwin. Both were active as children in their local 4-H clubs. She was a member of the now-defunct Clinton Busy Bees, and he participated with the Worden Workers.
Their involvement with 4-H escalated when their own children became members of Worden Workers. Mrs. Wintermantel served the club as community leader, as well as foods and clothing project leader, and she continues as clothing leader. Mr. Wintermantel was a project leader in woodworking and swine.
Today, the four Wintermantel children have gone their separate ways, but they still take part in occasional 4-H activities, their parents said. Ellen is a sophomore at Kansas State University; Mike farms with his father; Amy is a special education teacher at Baldwin Junior High School; and Steven attends seminary in California.
MRS. WINTERMANTEL said she and her family had supported 4-H for so many years because of its positive effect on young people.
"I think it's probably one of the better youth programs because they have such an opportunity to learn by doing," she said. "It gives kids a whole lot of confidence. Teachers say they can always tell a kid who's been in 4-H."
In addition to their commitment to 4-H, the Wintermantels have served the community in a number of other capacities. Mr. Wintermantel sat on the extension service's executive board, both as treasurer and president, and he was a member of the Baldwin School Board for 11 years.
They both have served on the extension program and development committee.
The busy husband and wife team also are active in the Worden United Methodist Church, having served 10 years as youth coordinators. He has been a trustee and presently is a lay leader and she teaches a junior high Sunday school class and is president of United Methodist Women at the church.
ADDITIONALLY, the Wintermantels farm about 900 acres, raising "a little of everything," including corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum, hay, oats, cows and pigs.
Their efforts in soil and water conservation recently earned them another award, which the Douglas County Conservation District will present at the annual meeting Tuesday.
According to the Soil Conservation Service, the Wintermantels have been SCS cooperators since 1984. They planted four acres of trees on Conservation Reserve Program land and have installed 9.5 acres of grassed waterways, 42,400 linear feet of terraces and 32 acres of pasture planting.