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David Cowles receives 4-H 2016 Living Memorial Award

David Cowles was named this year’s 4-H Living Memorial Award winner. Pictured with Cowles is nominator and presenter, Lori DeBoer. (Cindy Croes Olson photo)

If there’s anyone who deserves their 15 minutes of fame, it’s him

“I’ve always told my daughter, bring your best and do your best. There is something to be learned from every opportunity.”

David Cowles’ advice to his daughter is advice he exemplifies in his own life, particularly when it comes to 4-H, teaching and working with youth.

The 4-H Living Memorial Award is awarded annually to an individual who goes above and beyond for the 4-H program. It can be someone who works tirelessly behind the scenes or a leader in the public eye. It is meant to recognize the hard work and dedication of those who spend countless hours working with young people, as well as on other projects that benefit the 4-H family as a whole.

David Cowles, owner of Dave Cowles Swiss Farm and long-time member of the Roberts Ribbon Reapers 4-H Club, received this year’s Living Memorial Award at the St. Croix County Fair.

“Dave is just a great guy,” said nominator Lori DeBoer. “He has spent many years educating and supporting our youth regarding the dairy project. He has provided animals for the youth to use as well as teaching them the ropes of how to show animals. David has spent many hours traveling to shows with the animals and the youth. He has been a coach on the county’s dairy judging team for many years. Many successful dairy judging teams have come from Wisconsin largely, due to the help from Dave.”

Cowles began showing animals from his own farm initially, sharing his knowledge and skills with his daughter and son and eventually with extended members of his family and friends.

Cowles is respected member of the Wisconsin Brown Swiss Association (WBSA) where he served as an officer. This year he also received the WBSA Service Award.

In presenting the award, WBSA member Heidi Heller described Cowles as, “The epitome of this award. Service as defined by the Oxford Dictionary is ‘the action of helping or doing work for someone.” Dave has always been the first to donate his time, truck or trailer to anyone who has needed it. He enjoys working behind the scenes and helping others to succeed.”

As Cowles graduated from his leadership role working with 4-H youth, he assumed more responsibilities within the county dairy program working many hours in support of the Mayfair event and becoming a driving force behind several of the new facilities at the St. Croix County Fairground.

“Dave stepped up to the plate when it became apparent that new structures were needed at the fair. He worked many hours to support the Mayfair event. Dave made corn hole games to be sold at the silent auction. He didn’t quit when the two barns were complete. He has continued to support this effort in hopes of continuing the fairground restoration. He has a good sense of humor, works hard and is dedicated to the 4-H program,” added DeBoer.

Never one to toot his own horn, Cowles was surprised to receive the award.

“I was surprised. Usually I can figure out who it’s going to. I’m sure there are more deserving folks than me, but I am very grateful for the award,” Cowles said.

“I don’t think picking one moment would be a fair assessment of Dave. What sticks out for me most recently is that Dave is battling an illness, but he just keeps going and going. He sets a great example for both the leaders and the youth in the county. I know that he doesn’t like being in the limelight but, if there is anyone that deserves 15 minutes of fame, it is Dave,” DeBoer said.