Profile: Martha and Doyle Banks
Doyle and Martha Banks of Clinton have spent a combined 44 years improving the lives of Mississippians by carrying out the mission of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
Much of their work has been through the state's 4-H Youth program, developing the potential of young people and offering hands-on educational programs. Leadership development, life skills training, and promotion of positive self-esteem are all components of the projects and services they have built in west central Mississippi.
Doyle, who will retire with 28 years of MSU service on June 30, is Claiborne County Extension director, while his wife, Martha, has 16 years with MSU and is 4-H Youth development specialist in Hinds County.
The two met on the job and became a team that is dedicated to MSU and the Extension Service.
Doyle said, "It's been a joy working for Mississippi State. The university is very supportive and helpful. There's also been a lot of personal satisfaction for me to see the 4-H kids we've worked with turn out so well."
As a county extension director, he also works with adult programs in Claiborne County such as family and consumer science, involving local residents in financial management, nutrition, and child development programs. Agriculture assistance and the Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers are other projects he helps coordinate.
With prior military experience before joining MSU, Martha said she has always been a "people person" who wanted to work with others, and the Extension Service has given her that opportunity. She directs a 4-H Out-of-School program, the Miss.-Lou. Military Project, that connects military families to community support, and she is coordinating a new grant effort with United Healthcare called "Youth Choice."
"My work for MSU consumes me. It's so rewarding to see these youngsters stand in front of a crowd and give a speech or see them on a leadership team. It's a metamorphosis for them, and I love helping them."
Next week … Tom Carskadon !