Cindy Axne Clarinda Post Office

Rep. Axne announced her bill to rename the Clarinda Post Office with Jessie Field Shambaugh’s grandson, Seth Watkins, at American Legion Post 98 in Clarinda

(Clarinda) -- Clarinda's Post Office may soon be getting a new name honoring the "Mother of 4-H."

Iowa Third District Congresswoman Cindy Axne has introduced legislation that would rename the U.S. Post Office building in Clarinda in honor of Jessie Field Shambaugh. Shambaugh was a former school superintendent in Page County and began teaching in 1901. Axne says her own connection with 4-H motivated her to bring the bill forward.

"As a kid who grew up doing 4-H, my mom grew up on a farm in Warren County and when she married my dad and they were here in the Des Moines area, she was bound and determined to make sure that those benefits of being in 4-H were brought up to the town," said Axne.  "I was in 4-H starting in fourth grade here in West Des Moines."

As a teacher, Shambaugh formed the Boys Corn Club and Girls Home Club in an effort to teach students essential skills for both the farm an at home through extracurricular programs. Shambaugh designed the clover pin with the letter H, which became the symbol of 4-H when the program was formalized around the country. Axne says 4-H continues its mission of growing future leaders to this day.

"I am firmly in belief that it is one of the most important experiences that helped shape who I am today," said Axne.  "From the idea of helping my community, to making sure that I was trying my best in all that I did and being responsible and being a leader whenever I could be."

In addition to her teaching, Shambaugh was an author and was heard regularly on KFNF in Shenandoah. She was born in 1881 near Shenandoah and attended Western Normal College and graduated from Tabor College. Today, 4-H reaches over 6 million schoolchildren, teaching them life skills, leadership and cooperation through the "Head, Hands, Heart and Health" values that Shambaugh helped develop.

"What she's done from right here in Page County to an international organization that's helping kids around the world," said Axne.  "We need those young leaders more than ever right now.  So, I was so honored to be able to do that."

Shambaugh died in Clarinda in 1971 and was named to the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1977. Axne's bill is cosponsored by the other three members of the House from Iowa: Republican Steve King and Democrats Abby Finkenauer and Dave Loebsack.

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