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Job is an extension of desire to have an impact
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More photos from this shoot
Photo: Gary Krambeck/gkrambeck@qconline.com
Tony Franklin, county director for University of Illinois Extension, Unit 7.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Gary Krambeck/gkrambeck@qconline.com
Tony Franklin, county director for University of Illinois Extension, Unit 7
Four counties, several programs and diverse cultures make every day different and exciting for Tony Franklin, University of Illinois Extension County director.

His job description is broad and includes developing plans of work, planning and implementing educational activities, evaluating programs for impact, fiscal management, marketing, networking, staff supervision and development, volunteer management and evaluating programs for impact.

"Extension is a great organization," Mr. Franklin said. "It's exciting to know that what you do makes an impact on people's lives. I think that's what I like most about extension is that the work taking place in the office makes a difference in the lives of others. I'm glad to be a part of it and feel blessed to be employed by such a great organization."

Impacting others is what Mr. Franklin is about. His career speaks volumes about his convictions, but his personal and volunteer choices say even more.

The list is long, but, regardless of the community, Mr. Franklin has been involved in religious and community programs, including being a deacon and Bible study teacher at his church to serving on the board of the Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Quad Cities Generational Poverty Initiative.

"I have always said that if you're going to complain about something you have to stand up and make a difference," he said.

His making a difference started in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., where he grew up, went to high school, played football and was class president. He received an associate's degree in social work technology at Glenville State College.

His first job after graduating was as a dormitory counselor at St. Joseph Indian School in Chamberlain, S.D. After a year there, he was named recreational director and Title IV coordinator at the Crow Creek Reservation High School in Stephan, S.D.

He said he enjoyed working with youth, developing and implementing afterschool programs such as karate classes, power lifting, intramural sports and field trips for 140 dormitory students in grades seven through 12.

In the mid-1980s Mr. Franklin moved to New Mexico to work with the National Youth Sports Program and earned a master's degree in physical education with a concentration in sports administration.

He said his goal was to be an athletic director, but God had other plans. "Every time I had a plan, someone would come up to me with an offer for a different position or path. I am totally aware that I am in a different place from where I thought I was going. But I believe that God has put me in the right place. He is the author of my life."

In 1990, he was named academic adviser for the University of New Mexico's Athletic Department, then became the university's academic counselor in 1992.

During his time there he developed the Student Athlete Academic Handbook, but Mr. Franklin said his greatest accomplishment was helping to improve the teams' grade-point average from 1.89 in the fall of 1992 to 2.8 by the fall of 1993.

From there, he became director of African-American Student Services, where his duties included developing collaborative relationships and being an advocate and liaison for African-American students.

In 1995, the recently divorced Mr. Franklin was looking to move closer to his children. He was interviewing for a job in Minnesota when one of the people on the panel mentioned a job opening at Knox College in Galesburg as associate dean of students for the Office of Intercultural Life.

While it wasn't exactly close to his children, it was a perfect fit for him.

Again, his responsibilities included leadership, personnel and budget management, along with special projects, outreach programs and academic advising. He also was liaison to the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Minority Concerns Committee.

In 1999, Mr. Franklin was named associate dean of students at Knox College.

In 2001, he was "recruited" to University of Illinois Extension by the Knox County office. Although Mr. Franklin was experienced in developing and carrying out programs, fiscal and staff management, the scope of extension continues to surprise him.

"I knew about 4-H growing up, but was never involved myself," Mr. Franklin said. "It's funny now, but I thought of it then as a farm thing. But it is so much more.

"There is a lot of research-based information available from the University of Illinois for people to tap into. It's our job to get that information into the hands of the public. It's what we've been doing since 1914. There's a lot of work going on in our office."





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  Today is Wednesday, July 30, the 211th day of 2014. There are 154 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: After Sept. 1, every small box of matches will be required to have a 3 cent duty Lincoln stamp on it, and every large box will be one cent for every 100 matches.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Rock Island residents had contributed a total of $1,293 to the American Red Cross for the Johnstown flood relief fund.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Capt. Clark Means, new darkhorse twirler for the ARGUS staff, was in great form in his initial contest as a mound laborer. The result was that THE ARGUS trimmed the Union 6-5.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Hunter and Humprey Moody, young Decatur, Ill, brothers, lack only a few hours of establishing a new world light plane endurance record.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Gates of the 110th annual Mercer County Fair swing open tonight at Aledo for a full week of day and night activity. More that $36,000 will be paid in premiums and race purses.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The baseball field carved out of the cornfield near Dyersville, Iowa, continues to keep dreams alive for hundreds of visitors. Tourists from 26 state and France have visited Dan Lansing's farm to see the baseball diamond seen in the hit movie "Field of Dreams."






(More History)