UACES Facebook Sara Gardner wins Governor’s Award; Maloch, Rutledge honored for 4-H support
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Sara Gardner wins Governor’s Award; Maloch, Rutledge honored for 4-H support

July 25, 2018

By Mary Hightower 
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts:

  • Sara Gardner, Washington County, named 2018 Arkansas Governor’s Award winner
  • AG Rutledge, state Sen. Maloch honored as Friends of 4-H

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A young woman with her sights set on the governor’s mansion, the state attorney general and a state senator were all honored Wednesday at Arkansas 4-H’s biggest night – the Awards of Excellence banquet.


Sara Gardner of Washington County was named the 2018 Arkansas Governor’s Award winner.  

Gardner has been a 4-H for a decade. She has served as county council president and a state officer, as vice president of the Ozark District. For nine years, Gardner’s work has been guided by her “Pledge to Patriotism” platform.

Gardner has spearheaded projects collecting 3,500 canned food items for homeless veterans, creating 7,500 handmade gifts and cards, and spent nine years working on projects with the national cemetery at Fayetteville.

Being fluent in Spanish, she has begun sharing the goals and opportunities of 4-H in Hispanic communities. She hopes to work as an attorney for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

During the finalists’ award luncheon  with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and his wife Susan at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, Gardner announced her intention to become Arkansas’ first female governor.

“We’ll have the place ready for you,” Susan Hutchinson said with a smile.

“If you want to see what tomorrow will be like, look at today’s 4-H youth leaders – these young people are going to better the world and shape all of our futures – we are in good hands,” said Rick Cartwright, associate vice president-extension. “I plan to vote for Sara.”

Friends of 4-H

4-H honored two people as Friends of 4-H on Wednesday, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and state Sen. Bruce Maloch of Magnolia.

“Each year, we recognize those who truly give of themselves to this youth development program,” said Martha Ray Sartor, extension’s associate director-4-H and Youth Development and Family and Consumer Science. “This year, we honor two people who have been very generous in their support of our state’s 4-H youth.”

Rutledge is the state’s 56th attorney general and first woman elected to the office, this year’s first Friend of 4-H believes face-to-face conversations lead to real solutions. Since taking office, she began a Mobile Office program for all 75 counties, a military and veterans Initiative, a metal theft prevention program, and a Cooperative Disability Investigations program to stop fraud in Social Security disability claims. 

In addition to her state responsibilities, she actively works on multi-state issues with other attorneys general. She also re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture.

This year’s second Friend of 4-H, state Sen. Bruce Maloch, grew up on the farm near Emerson, where he still farms today. In his youth, he was active in 4-H and served as state president and national officer of the FFA. 

Maloch also served as chairman of the Arkansas FFA Foundation and Arkansas Cattlemen’s Foundation. He has long been active in Arkansas Farm Bureau activities and supporting agricultural youth by donating his auctioneering services for charitable events throughout the area at multiple junior livestock sales. Maloch has also hosted  state 4-H Livestock Leadership Academy program at the state Capitol.

Throughout his tenure, he’s been recognized as Legislator of the Year by the Arkansas Realtors Association, Person of the Year by the Arkansas Municipal League, and was named one of the top 10 legislators by Talk Business magazine.  

The senator and his wife live on a farm south of Magnolia, where they raise registered Brangus cattle and enjoy spending time with their three children and five grandchildren, all of which have taken part in 4-H livestock projects.

For more information about Arkansas 4-H, contact your county extension office or visit

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses. 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126