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Updated: 08/04/2011 -
I'm so thankful that many area 4-H and FFA programs have included me into their festivities. These programs were such an important part of my life in Indiana, and many here have adopted me as one of their own. For those who were never involved in these programs, you may just think I'm nuts when I say how homesick I can be when it comes to these events... like missing my own county fair back in Indiana. However, it was such a huge part of my life, that it was almost like I lost part of my family when moving away from these activities.
I'm very thankful for the Taylor County 4-H program. On July 31st, they made me feel right at home at their county fair. I was honored and privileged to be the guest announcer at their market animal sale. I talked with many wonderful people who shared beautiful stories with me about farming and 4-H. But there was one story that just rocked me to the core, and it just goes to show how close the 4-H family truly is.
Two boys who are preparing to age out of the 4-H program both had a rather big year. Brock Brandner had the Reserve Grand Champion Steer and Lucas Hoefs had the Grand Champion Hog. Both boys tell me they've been friends since they first started the 4-H program several years ago. But along they way Lucas had two major losses in his life. Both of his parents had past away. While death of a parent is never an easy thing to deal with, Lucas says he found hope in the 4-H program. After this devastating loss, Brock made a pact with Lucas saying if he ever won grand champion with a pig or calf he would donate to Lucas' parents memorial fund. And this year when Brock took his Reserve Grand Champion Steer through the auction ring, I had the honor of reading their pact to the audience. Brock selflessly donated 20% of his sale from his steer to Lucas' parents memorial. And Lucas followed suit - not only donating to his own parent's memorial fund, but also to a young man who's battling Leukemia.
This story is just one of THOUSANDS of examples of how important the 4-H program is to the youth of our great nation. It teaches hard work, responsibility, leadership, and most of all loyalty. The friends these young people are making are friendships that will last a lifetime. So bravo not only to these two young men... but to all of the 4-Hers, FFA members, volunteers, and family members that are making such a positive mark on their local communities.
Another thing that really impressed me at the Taylor County 4-H Fair is that many of the exhibitors donated money to local charities, schools, churches, and some even put money right back into the 4-H program. BRAVO to all of you! You are the young people who are going to one day change this WORLD one small kind act at a time. I believe we all could do more like these young people - and give back to our own communities.
Congratulations to all of the exhibitors, volunteers, and families on another successful year in Taylor County! I can't thank you all enough for letting me be apart of this magical year. THANK YOU!
**A special thank you to my best friend, Jodi. She went with me to this year's fair and helped me capture some of these memorable moments on camera so I was able to share them with you. THANKS JODI!!**
**Pictures to follow soon! Be sure to check back!
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