Every week, this series shares MarionMade! stories of our many wonderful people, places, products and programs in the greater Marion community. To read more positive stories from Marion, or to share some of your own, visit us at marionmade.org or on social media.
Pat Baldinger has been a 4-H counselor for 60 years. The 4-H milkshake stand at the Marion County Fair is named after him! Baldinger has personally touched many 4-H members over the years. She was a member of 4-H. Baldinger participated in two different clubs. She then became a 4-H advisor for the Green Camp Shamrocks.
“4-H is one of the best organizations for preparing children for adulthood. There are so many different activities, from housekeeping to pets,” Baldinger said. “There are so many things they can do and achieve, even as adults.”
The Green Camp Shamrocks planted flowers at the local cemetery and community center. Baldinger is most proud of her work with the Marion County 4-H milkshake stand. The booth typically raises between $6,000 and $7,000 each year at the county fair to support local 4-H programs.
In 2019, Pat received the Meritorious Award, an award recognizing adult 4-H volunteers for lifetime service, at the Ohio State 4-H Conference for his 60 years of dedication to the program. Baldinger was also inducted into the Marion County 4-H Hall of Fame and was previously recognized as a Marion County Fair Supporter of the Year.
Baldinger likes to keep busy and enjoys having other people around him.
“I think it’s important to help people, that’s why I give back to the community,” Baldinger said of his service.
Baldinger fills his days with volunteer activities. She has been helping in the pantry of the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Society for 15 years. Baldinger coordinated volunteers and prepared food boxes for customers. Baldinger is a dedicated and active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
Baldinger fondly remembers bringing food to people through the pantry.
“Having the kids realize that they got to get something they don’t normally get was so good. Families would be overwhelmed by what we would bring them,” Baldinger recalls of this past practice. “People’s comments are great memories to have, knowing that you’ve helped someone deeply.”
Baldinger is a recipient of the Pearl Roberts Award. The award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding community service and volunteerism by a Marion County senior. The award is named in honor of Pearl Roberts, who was instrumental in the development of the current Marion Senior Center facility, as well as many other programs and services for seniors in the Marion area.
A board member for the Marion County Council on Aging, Pat is also president of Green Camp Seniors and serves on the Marion County Retired Teachers Board of Directors.
Baldinger grew up in Marion County west of Green Camp. She graduated from Bowling Green University and is now a retired teacher. She taught elementary school at Green Camp. When the Elgin District was formed, she taught at Prospect in Elgin South. She mentored the student teachers and was always available with friendly advice and a helping hand.
Baldinger was recently recognized by the Women’s Business Council as a nominee for the annual Athena Award. The ATHENA Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating leadership opportunities for women. Marion is one of the few cities to annually award the Athena Award for Excellence in Leadership to a woman of distinction. The ATHENA Award aims to recognize outstanding business and professional women in the community and to create an environment where the help, encouragement and mentorship of women would be especially appreciated.
Baldinger is known to be an inspiration.
“She volunteers selflessly and gives all the organizations she is involved with 100% of her time and dedication,” said Sherry Hutchins.
Baldinger believes that others can have an impact and give back to their community.
“Everyone should want to help improve our community,” Baldinger said. “One thing we should all think about is how we can all help each other.”