The 2022 Panhandle Friend of Extension Award will be presented to Kevin Jech’s family during this year’s Sheridan County Fair 4-H Achievement Banquet. The Friend of Extension award was initiated in 2015 and recognizes people whose contributions have furthered Extension activities in the Nebraska Panhandle.
Jech, who passed away in 2021, had served as a Shooting Sports instructor since 2003 in Sheridan County and became a State Shooting instructor in 2006. He also served as the Hunting Skills Chief Range Officer for National Shooting Sports and enjoyed coaching youth in his local shooting sports program.
“Kevin was instrumental in growing the shooting sports program within Sheridan County, the state of Nebraska, and the country,” said Melissa Mracek, UNL Assistant Extension Educator, Sheridan County. “He took a great pride in helping youth improve their shooting skills and teaching them proper gun safety.”
Jech made the shooting sports program a family affair by involving his wife and children. Even though his children had outgrown the program, they continued to be involved and serve as apprentices. The Jech family helped prepare youth for State BB gun and air rifle competitions as well as the National Shooting Sports competition. Within their practices, they helped youth learn about BB guns, air rifles, archery, and hunting and wildlife.
Jech made sure members of the shooting sports program had adequate and safe equipment for them to use during the practice season. He helped obtain guns and other prizes to raffle off during the season with the proceeds going to the Panhandle Shootings Sports program.
“Kevin and his wife hosted practices and events at their home despite it being a busy time on their ranch,” said Mracek. “He created a huge impact on the program and always went above and beyond to help youth in our community.”