Posted: May 12, 2023

Gifts and bequest will benefit 4-H members and programs in Huntingdon County

Christine Kyper Imbt

Christine Kyper Imbt

Since 1984, Huntingdon County 4-H has presented the Chris Kyper Imbt Memorial Award to youth exhibiting dairy animals at fairs and competitions. Thanks to a $30,000 gift from Randy Imbt, the award now has been reimagined and endowed as the Christine Kyper Imbt Memorial 4-H Leadership Award. He has also planned to commit an additional $35,000 for immediate spending for the award and committed a $300,000 bequest to support the endowment in the future.

The Christine Kyper Imbt Memorial 4-H Leadership Award will provide multiple monetary educational awards in recognition of outstanding accomplishments achieved by Huntingdon County 4-H members in elementary, middle and high school, as well as an award for graduating high school seniors.

Imbt, a 1977 graduate in agricultural mechanization, said he hopes this award will go beyond providing financial support to the recipients. He wants it to encourage growth in both 4-H and the youth who participate.

“The mission behind this award is to increase enrollment and participation in all of the 4-H clubs. To incentivize members to strive to reach their personal goals and reward those outstanding members for their accomplishments. Personal goals should include active involvement in their family, 4-H, school, community, country and the preservation of the agricultural way of life,” Imbt said. “Chris was the inspiration behind that mission statement.”

Imbt first met his late wife, Chris Kyper, at Delta Theta Sigma fraternity, where Imbt was a brother and Kyper was a little sister. Both were also students in the College of Agricultural Sciences. They married in 1979, and Imbt began his career as a territory field representative with the Construction and Forestry Division of John Deere, a position he would hold until he retired in 2015.

While Imbt never had participated in 4-H, Chris had been very active throughout her youth showing dairy cattle and goats, which she raised on her family’s dairy farm in Huntingdon County. Imbt always felt that participating in 4-H really shaped the incredible person he saw in Chris.

After Chris passed away in 1984, Imbt started a 4-H award in her memory, which provided a plaque and small monetary reward to Huntingdon County 4-H youth in three age categories who showed dairy cattle. He also contributed annually to the Huntingdon County Humane Society because she loved animals and worked as a veterinary technician when the couple lived in Tennessee.

Imbt was visiting Chris’s grave when he started thinking about what more he could do to honor her memory. Inspiration came with a simple Google search of the name “Chris Kyper.”

“The first article that came up was a 2018 news story from the Huntingdon paper showing they were still giving out the award I’d started in 1984,” Imbt said. “I had always assumed it had come to an end. I was very surprised it was still being given using 4-H funds. I felt this was fate.”

Imbt contacted the Huntingdon County office of Penn State Extension and was put in touch with Christine Corl, 4-H youth development extension educator. Together they started making plans to reinvent the award and make a positive impact on 4-H in Chris’s home county.

“Christine Corl has taken the vision I had for this award and transformed it into reality,” Imbt said. “She’s developed the criteria for the award and has been integral in creating this legacy program from the ground up.”

Corl said she has enjoyed working with Imbt on this award and is excited to see the impact it will have on 4-H in her area.

“Randy’s gift and bequest will make a huge difference for 4-H programming in Huntingdon County, both now and in the future,” Corl said. “Now, it gives incentives to members to achieve their goals and tell their stories about how 4-H has impacted their lives. In the future, the interest generated from the endowment will support the Christine Kyper Imbt Memorial 4-H Leadership Awards and allow additional opportunities for growing our program. I’m honored to help steward Randy’s generosity to support a program I’ve been a part of my whole life. I didn’t know Chris, but I know she’d be honored, too.”

Imbt noted that he is looking forward to seeing the impact this award has on the Huntingdon County 4-H clubs. More importantly, he said he’s thrilled to have found a way to further recognize Chris.

“I’ve always been a person who helps without having to be asked twice,” Imbt said. “This is an opportunity to help and an opportunity to honor Chris. It keeps her name alive for many generations to come. We’re going to see how this makes a difference. We hope it inspires youth to do more, to be more active and to develop life skills. I guarantee Chris got a lot out of her experiences in 4-H, and I hope more youth take advantage of the program.”

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