Former Extension agent honored during dedication ceremony
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Former Coweta Extension Agent Don Morris got quite a surprise when he arrived at the dedication ceremony for the new meeting room at the extension office — he was the guest of honor.
The Don Morris Meeting Room, at the Coweta Extension Office on Pine Road, was dedicated Friday.
Morris served as Coweta extension director from 1980 to 1988. After his retirement, he was rehired in 2003 and stayed until 2007.
He still remains active with Coweta County 4-H, coaching various teams. He led the state-winning Forestry Judging and Land Judging teams to national competitions, and currently coaches the Envirothon team.
“In Coweta County, Don’s name is synonymous with Extension,” said Butcher. “He has been a trailblazer for the development and implementation of educational programs in agriculture and natural resources, where he provided expertise and leadership in the areas of soil and water conservation, horticulture, forestry, turfgrass, and 4-H,” she said.
In addition to coaching teams, Morris “has led numerous 4-H’ers in district project achievement, and trained and encouraged many of our youth to compete at state level competitions,” she said.
“He’s just always been great to work with and he always wants the best for us,” said 4-H’er Whitney Kirkpatrick, who competed on the Forestry Judging and Land Judging teams that went to nationals.
“He always puts his heart into everything and works really hard, because he wants the best for us.”
The dedication was “a really great ceremony,” Kirkpatrick said. “There were a lot of people there to support him, from a bunch of different organizations, because he has always done so much for his community.”
As work was going progressing on the meeting room, which, along with a demonstration kitchen, was the final phase of the extension complex, naming the meeting room after Morris was brought up several times.
“During the construction of the meeting room, several of us had conversations about all the contributions that Don has made over the years,” Butcher said. “We wouldn’t be where we are today, building the building, this construction process, if it hadn’t been for him,” she said. “Several of us made comments — ‘it sure would be nice to name the room after Don,’” she said.
The extension office made a formal request to Coweta County to be able to name the meeting room after Morris.
It was decided to make the dedication a surprise.
“Everybody worked really hard to try to keep it a surprise,” Butcher said. “From the invitations that went out to the conversations among people. Everybody did their part to keep it a secret.”
Morris earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in forest resources from the University of Georgia.
He began his extension career in 1974 as an extension agent in Cobb County. He became extension director in Douglas County in 1977.
He came to Coweta in 1980 and was promoted to North Central District Agent in 1988.
Throughout the 1990s and until his retirement, Morris served in a variety of roles, including several years as Carroll County extension director, and district program development coordinator.
Morris has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout his career, including the Newnan-Coweta Jaycees Outstanding Community Service Award, the Atlanta Farmer’s Club Outstanding Agriculture Extension Agent Award, and the Georgia Agribusiness Council Award.
He has served on numerous committees, including the Georgia Water Task Force and the State Staff Core Curriculum Development committee.
“Don has dedicated his life to serving others,” said Butcher.
“Dedicating the meeting room in his honor is just a small expression of how much he means to this community,” she said. “I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work for Don and am so thankful that the county has recognized his contributions in this way.”