Hogan family praised for its volunteer service at fair

Staff Writer

GAITHERSBURG, Md. (Sept. 6, 2016) — Each year a Pioneer Luncheon is held during the annual Montgomery County Fair to recognize those who are considered “Founding Fathers” of the fair which was officially opened in 1949.
This year, the Hogan family was honored, along with a special tribute to the Open and 4-H Dairy Goat Departments, and the Open and 4-H Meat Goat Department.
The luncheon was held Aug. 18, and Susan (Hogan) Sullivan spoke for her family and told of the many years of her family’s volunteering and service and the pleasure it has been.
“First and foremost,” Sullivan said, “our family would like to say thank you for this recognition. We know there are many volunteers and families that do what we do. The Montgomery County Fair could not be successful without our volunteers supporting the (Montgomery County Agricultural Center) mission.
“Our family enjoys providing 4-Hers, FFA members, families, and our community with a unique agricultural experience.
“I wonder,” she added, “if our founding pioneers 68 years ago, could have imagined that their vision would become such an icon in the community and across the state.”
Sullivan noted that her family’s involvement started in the fair, when she wanted to join 4-H.
“We soon found out that 4-H is a family affair,” she said, “and our parents provided transportation to and from 4-H events.”
Back then, in order to enter any exhibits, Sullivan said 4-H members had to volunteer throughout the year at the Ag Center by helping with the many lunches and dinners that were served on the grounds.
“My parents stayed with us through each event and as most of you know, my parents don’t just sit back and wait. They wanted to help. More hands make the jobs go faster so it began when they started helping in the kitchen, and that’s how they became involved in the food area of the fair. The rest, as they say is history!”
Shortly after she became involved, her brothers, Ed and Charlie, joined 4-H, and became involved with the Sheep & Swine Club and Horse & Pony Club. Soon after that, Sullivan’s club, the Cedar Grove Girls Club, needed an adult leader and her mom stepped up to the job, she said.
The Sheep & Swine Club was also growing and needed additional adult leadership, so their Dad stepped up.
“Dad is still an adult leader for the Electrical Club, Woodworking and Entomology Clubs,” she added. “Our parents hauled us and our animals all over for the events, shows and fairs, but the one we all enjoyed most was right here - the Montgomery County Fair.”
The fair became their family vacation. Both parents would take off from work to help with the animals, the shows and demonstrations.
“Not just for us. Many times it was helping other 4-H members as well,” she said. “How cool was that - a vacation at the Fair!”
“To this day,” she added, “we stay involved so the others can appreciate how volunteering can enhance lives.”
As time passed the kids grew up and more volunteer experiences became available, Sullivan said. The family grew, adding wives, a husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They serve in various capacities including the fair’s board of directors, selling cheese at the Big Cheese stand, parking cars and setting up displays and fencing.
“We have met so many wonderful people through volunteering and we appreciate being recognized today and look forward to continuing helping others to learn about the Montgomery County Fair and Ag Center in the future,” Sullivan said.