WV Farm Bureau Magazine August 2015 - Page 5

Something to Think About Don Michael, WVFB Director of Governmental Affairs Summer Excitement – For the Michael family summer exploded with excitement as we joined our son Chris, wife Kate, and others in welcoming a new member to the clan on June 25 – our first grandson, Garrett Kentlee Michael. We praise God for His gift of this bundle of joy! Shortly after Garrett’s birth my wife and I found ourselves engulfed in the always suspenseful and exciting State FFA Convention and Leadership Conference at Cedar Lakes. More than 800 FFA members, agriculture teachers/FFA Advisors, program donors and guests assembled for this 87th gathering of agriculture’s blue and gold family, where the theme was “Go All Out.” WVFB President Charles Wilfong recognized Ashley Shamblin, Ravenswood FFA, as West Virginia’s Star Farmer for 2015. The $500 award and plaque are sponsored annually by Farm Bureau. Our organization and its members were quite visible in terms of their efforts in “going all out” to make a positive difference in the lives of FFA members: Farm Bureau received FFA’s Distinguished Service Award; five members received the Honorary State FFA Degree – Kevin Butcher (Gilmer County FB), Delegate Denise Campbell (Randolph County FB), Dinah Hannah (Lewis County FB), Delegate Lynwood “Woody” Ireland (Ritchie County FB), Ralph Warren (Greenbrier County FB); and Don Michael (Tyler County FB) received the West Virginia FFA VIP Award. Past State FFA Officers were again highly visible at Friday night’s FFA Foundation Auction held in conjunction with FFA Convention. In fact it was historical in terms of four past presidents in attendance – Duane Adams (South Harrison, 1982-83), David Bourgeois (Ripley, 1976-77), Jim Eisentrout (Bruceton Mills, 1979-80) and Charles Wilfong (Pocahontas County, 1978-79). These respected FFA leaders hold a unique place in FFA’s storied history, having served in a state leadership capacity for three years, with each serving consecutively as Vice President, Secretary and President. Each continued a fourth year as an exofficio member of the State FFA Executive Committee and FFA Governing Body – a remarkable 16 years of combined service to WV FFA members . . . and they continue to devote time, energy and financial resources to move FFA forward! One side note – David, Jim and Charles are active Farm Bureau members. Back to the Foundation Auction, those present were most generous in digging into their pockets to spend nearly $8,000 to benefit those amazing young men and women in the blue and gold jackets. Since 1991 the WV FFA Foundation has been able to provide support in the amount of $242,252.27 to the WV FFA Association for member scholarships and awards, as well as leadership programming . . . all thanks to donors and those who support the annual auction. Farm Bureau appreciates the many friends of agriculture who are helping to build America’s future through FFA. A few days prior to writing this article my two sons and I headed to Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati for three days of excitement and fun associated with Major League Baseball’s Annual AllStar Game. While we had a wonderful time filled with memories we will treasure, the most refreshing moment occurred as players were introduced for the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game. The two teams featured baseball legends, country music and movie personalities, Olympic stars, OSU Football Coach Urban Meyer and others. BUT only two received standing ovations during introductions – Wounded Warrior participants! America’s baseball family in Cincy had it right. Their priorities were in order as they saluted those who protect our freedoms . . . and that excitement made us proud to be Americans and is a moment we will not forget from our All-Star experience. I leave you with the conclusion from a recent email received from a friend – “The nicest place to be is in someone’s thoughts. The safest place is to be in someone’s prayers, and the best place is to be in the hands of God.” Here’s wishing you and your loved ones God’s richest blessings for the remainder of summer and the seasons to come – KEEP SMILING FRIENDS. West Virginia Farm Bureau News 5