A pair of Potter County Extension Office agents were recently honored for their efforts to aid youth and adults in handling food safely via innovative program initiatives.

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science officials said Lizabeth Gresham and Jennifer Nickell were among Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service District 1 agents from the Panhandle who received the Food Safety Award during the Association’s national conference in San Antonio on Sept. 27.

During Monday’s Potter County Commissioners’ Court meeting, commission members recognized Gresham and Nickell for their efforts.

“I didn’t have a personal appreciation for how big of a deal this was,” said Potter County Commissioner – Precinct Two Mercy Merguia, who invited Gresham and Nickell to Monday’s meeting. “So as I was speaking with Lizabeth, and as we all know her energy exudes everywhere she goes, she was telling me about the award. It’s a big deal for Potter County.”

Texas A&M AgriLife officials said the annual award recognizes outstanding innovative programming that has shown significant impact on food safety, per the association’s guidelines.

In Potter and Randall counties agents partnered with Region 16 Educational Service Center to present Kids in the Kitchen to 96 migrant youth at their annual Health and Safety Fair, Texas A&M AgriLife officials said, noting the session served as a lesson on food safety, kitchen safety, washing fruits and vegetables, avoiding cross contamination, hands-on cooking skills and increasing fresh vegetable and fruit consumption.

“Thank you again, we appreciate your support and recognition,” Gresham said in addressing the commission and sharing thoughts on the conference. “There were over 900 family and community health agents present. The food safety award recognizes not just Potter County, but all of us in the Panhandle for the work being done. Everyone is at risk for foodborne illness and the program was already created to educate families, youth and retail food establishments. Thank you for continuing to believe in our work.”

Gresham and Nickell earned plaudits for joining health agents from across the Panhandle in helping 10,267 adults and youth handle food safely, with Texas A&M AgriLife officials adding the award is highly competitive and prestigious in scope.