The Wisconsin FFA Foundation will induct four new Blue and Gold Society members at the 87th Wisconsin FFA Convention next week in Madison. The convention will be held at Madison's Alliant Energy Center June 13-16.
In 2001, the Blue and Gold Society was formed to honor and recognize donors of major and or planned gifts. Members have made the commitment to contribute $15,000 to the Wisconsin FFA Foundation in three years or less. With 23 members, this prestigious group is adding four more to its roster in 2016. They include: Dr. Rick and Peggy Daluge, Al and Lynn Herrman, Kevin and Julie Larson Family, and the late Bethany L. Rieth.
Dr. Rick and Peggy Daluge are true agricultural advocates with their volunteer work through many organizations, as well as long-time supporters of the Wisconsin FFA Foundation. Dr. Daluge served on the organization's Sponsors Board and has received his State and American Honorary FFA Degrees. They have been married 45 years, have two children and three grandchildren. The Daluge's offer this advice: "Work hard and be the best you can be."
Al Herrman tells others that agricultural education and FFA changed his life, teaching him life lessons such as cooperation, leadership and communication. He is the executive director of the Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council and his wife, Lynn, is retired after more than 30 years of service as a teacher.
They believe in giving back and give this statement to FFA supporters statewide: "The future challenges facing our state, nation and the world will be best solved by those who are well prepared and ready to lead. We know of no other program that can touch so many worthy students and create that unique individual with skill sets necessary to accept these challenges."
Kevin and Julie Larson have always been very involved with FFA. Both were members in high school, with Kevin receiving accolades as a State Farmer Finalist and Julie as a State FFA Officer. Their children, Thomas and Katherine, both have shown the same passion for service and leadership in their FFA careers.
The couple passes along this message to all FFA members: "Everything you do and experience in FFA will help you throughout your lifetime. Get out of your comfort zone and do things you never thought you would do. We can't imagine how different our lives would be without FFA and we know our children would say the same."
The final Blue and Gold Society member to be inducted next week is Bethany L. Rieth. She was a member of the 2012-13 State FFA Officer team and passed away as the result of a tragic skiing accident this past February. Those who knew her say Bethany lived a life devoted to service. She traveled on mission trips to Jamaica, Alaska and Cambodia and graduated from the UW-Madison last year with a degree in nursing.
Bethany's Blue and Gold Society membership is the result of many contributions provided by individuals and organizations in her honor.
"Bethany's dream now will live on in the hearts and lives of others," says Sara Schoenborn, executive director of the Wisconsin FFA Foundation. "This is true for all our Blue and Gold Society members. Their dreams to make FFA an outstanding youth organization for years to come are realized because of these generous donations. This selfless, outstanding group of people is what FFA is all about, and the Wisconsin FFA Foundation is honored to know them and be able to share their love of FFA to the many members statewide."
The Wisconsin FFA Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization, unites individuals, organizations and companies who share a common interest in the advancement of agriculture and community leadership through FFA. You can support today's FFA members by supporting the programs that have been core tenets of the FFA: proficiency awards, career development events, state FFA degrees, sectional leadership workshops, scholarships, chapter awards, agri-science fair, state FFA convention and state officer support. Learn more about the Wisconsin FFA Foundation and sponsorship opportunities by visiting www.wisconsinffafoundation.org.