Drexel Pierce, standing, talks to volunteers and parents during a 2014 4-H Recognition Night.

After five years of heading the local branch of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service as Unit Coordinator, Drexel Pierce, Jr. is moving on to take an administrative position with the Sussex County School system.

In his five years heading 4-H Youth Development at the local Extension office, Greensville Emporia 4-H has produced five 4-H All-Stars, the highest honor in 4-H. Madison Johnson and Cal Rodriquez will be recognized as 4-H All-Stars later this month.

“I think we accomplished a lot in the last five years,” Pierce said. “We are in what is called a ‘highly-vulnerable’ area for children. We have brought kids to Virginia Beach who’s feet had never touched sand. We’ve had kids speak at the Virginia General Assembly. It wasn’t just about having fun, it was educational. It can be difficult working with children of others. No child is the same. But everyone in the community bought in to what we were trying to accomplish and pitched in. It has been a great experience.”

Buying into the work 4-H and Youth Development are doing in the community is something Pierce said he hopes to see continue after he leaves. He said he does not want to see any kids decide to not go to summer camp just because he is leaving. He said there will be plenty of volunteers that they are familiar with working on the pre-camp process and going to camp with them during the summer. The activities and curriculum will be the same.

Seeing the needs and meeting the needs of the youth in 4-H is something Pierce has put in play and been able to carry out due to the support from volunteers and others. The needs of children in a high vulnerable area such as Emporia-Greensville may be a little more difficult in executing, but through scholarships, volunteers, help from the City and County governments and others it has been successfully done.

“We don’t have the resources in Emporia-Greensville that others have,” he said. “But everybody has bought in and made it work.”

Pierce will still be living in Jarratt and said he will continue to be involved in the community, though he will shy away from the 4-H portion for some time to let the new leader, whoever it may be, to get comfortable in their new position. He said he will help out with the July 24 Family Night Out at Emporia Farmers Market.

Pierce worked with the 4-H program in Campbell County for two years before coming to the Greensville Emporia office. Leaving his current position is not easy.

“As I said, it’s bittersweet,” Pierce said. “I love working with my co-workers. My bosses are great. My leaving has nothing to do with any of that. I’m very happy here, but I felt this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Pierce may be leaving the Greensville Emporia Extension Office, but he will remain an integral part of the Emporia-Greensville community.