BONHAM — About 75 people packed into the new Derrell Hall Education Center Thursday evening in Bonham to celebrate its opening and dedicate the building to its namesake.

BONHAM — About 75 people packed into the new Derrell Hall Education Center Thursday evening in Bonham to celebrate its opening and dedicate the building to its namesake.


The Center is the new home to the Fannin County AgriLife Extension Office and also serves as a meeting space for local organizations, primarily 4-H. The event fittingly coincided with the 100-year anniversary of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension service.


The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s "job is to take the research and teaching that takes place on campus and extend it out across the state to the 250 county extension offices we have," said Director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Doug Steele. "And really the whole concept is … we provide knowledge from the university out to counties where people can make better decisions for their nutrition, their health, their farm enterprises, their communities and better life decisions."


Fannin 4-H Council President Michelle Hodge, 15, said the Derrell Hall Education Center will greatly benefit local 4-H members.


"It’s great that we have what this facility offers," Hodge said. "This facility offers an excellent area to have a meeting room, and it also offers a great area so that we can have fun activities for the 4-H members outside."


Steele was the featured guest speaker of the event, and gave a moving speech detailing the accomplishments of George Washington Carver, Norman Borlaug and Henry Wallace. The speech illustrated the potentially global impact that agriculture can have.


Following Steele’s speech, Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter officially dedicated the building to Derrell Hall. Carter outlined the many ways Hall has contributed to Fannin County, which include serving as a county commissioner, serving as county judge and being involved with the Extension Office for more than 50 years. Hall’s laudable character as a judge was also a focus of Carter’s speech.


"He treated everybody the same, and he had great respect for everybody. He always treated those defendants with respect, and he always treated the poor with respect," Carter said. "He’s a good man, and he’s well-deserving of this honor."


Several local elected officials then offered words praising Hall. Finally, Hall offered his thanks to everyone in attendance and spoke of the important role the Extension Office has played in his life. He recalled fond memories of taking soil samples with his father and showing pigs with his brother as a child in 4-H.


"Extension is too important, not only for Fannin County but for the state of Texas, to ever go away. And I look forward to the next 100 years as well," Hall said.