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Best Friends 4-H Club

Mariah Award

Motto: "If the map and the terrain do not agree, believe the terrain." -- Charles W. Chaillet, Jr.

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Mariah's Loveliest Song

by Charles W. Chaillet, Jr.
May 30, 2006

The gentlest soul God did grant,
A daily strength silently unmatched.
The power of love drove her on.
Determination to beat all odds was Mariah's loveliest song.

Mariah Award Plaque

       The Mariah Award was first presented in 2004 by Charles W. Chaillet, Jr. and L.M. Shannon-Chaillet, in honor and remembrance of their Newfoundland, Shannollet Like the Wind Mariah.

       In March of 1997 a very special Newfoundland puppy was born into our household. Her name was Mariah and her specialty … being a troublemaker with her siblings and surroundings.

       As she grew, Mariah’s physical deformities began to appear in her crocked spine and legs. Her genetic deformities also showed up with her food allergies and Addison disease. But through it all, she never lost her spunk, her devilishness, and her strong will to survive. Everyday as she grew, she quietly showed courage, persistence in getting her own way, and patience with us as she gently taught us what kindness and love for life really meant to us. But mostly she worked very hard on whittling her way into my husband’s, Charles Chaillet’s heart by laying her head upon his lap when he sat down to relax, looking up at him with eyes that could see into your soul, and demanded he scratch and cuddle with her. He always proclaimed her “his special love.”

       Mariah become a team canine for Best Friends in 2003. She helped a few of our non-traditional 4-H’er discover the wonderful world of dog training by being stubborn with that “sure I want to please you, but you have to give me a treat first,” attitude. And she gently showed them how to be persistent in getting the obstacle course finished.

       The life expectancy of a Newfoundland dog is eight to ten years. Mariah left us when she was nine. And when she left us, my husband wanted to find a way to honor her life and her accomplishments with the Best Friends 4-H Club. So.. in 2005 began the first of the Best Friends 4-H Club’s Mariah Awards for our Nontraditional 4-H'ers. In 2016, a Leader Award was also added.

       Mariah, like Best Friends 4-H Club's Nontraditional members, never realized she was labeled as "disabled" because she never thought of herself as such. She just kept right on exploring life, fighting for her right to live by overcoming her health issues, loved everyone, and was one happy, stubborn, willful Newfoundland who pushed her way into everyone's heart.


To earn a Mariah Award, a 4-H'er or leader must:

  • Have been a Best Friends 4-H Club member for five years.

  • Demonstrate courage, determination, and persistence on obtaining goals in life.

  • Demonstrate a willingness to learn life lessons and inspire sportsmanship and character.

Recipients of the Mariah Award:

4-H'ers: Leaders:
2004 - David Dynes  
2005 - Tyler Cook  
2006 - Dawn Williams  
2007 - Mitch Krugh  
2008 - Hailey Traywick  
2009 - Paige Irwin  
2010 - Kaitlin Irwin  
2011 - Aubrey Richter  
2013 - Marjorie Neilson  
2014 - Jared Schuck  
2015 - Audra Vilag  
2016 - Nathene Wendzell 2016 - Kim Wendzell , Barb Schuck
2017 - Vincent Haynes 2017 - Colleen Melendy
2018 - Duncan Haynes 2018 - Victoria Williams
2019 - Tiffany Enders 2019 - Lisa Mattson
2022 - Cristy Burtchett 2022 - Brian Haynes

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"Hands and Paws together always in friendship and teamwork." -- L.M. Shannon-Chaillet


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