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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mr. President - THE Retiring Address

Last night was Drewman's final FFA Banquet.
This was his last high school event, prior to Graduation on Saturday.
He went out with a BANG!

Drewman received several awards and recognition for his skills and leadership in the FFA Program.
 Opening Ceremonies
 The Welcome

 Star Chapter Farmer and Outstanding Senior

Several other Proficiencies and Honors
Poultry Production
Shooting Sports
Ag Mechanics/Welding
Livestock Judging

The main event was Drewman's FFA Retiring Presidents Address!

Drewman has had this speech prepared for weeks.
Each time he would rehearse, he would break down, I would break down and Flower Boy would break down.
It was personal!
It's never easy putting your heart on paper, let alone telling a large group of people what you have put on that piece of paper.

It was lunchtime, yesterday.
My phone rang.
"Yes, Son?"
"I can't do this!"
"Do what?"
"This speech!  I can't get through it!"
"Son, you have to.  You were born to do what you are doing right this very second.  You have to give that speech."
We talked for a bit.
He cried.
I cried.

I advised him to go to the church, take his speech, talk to his Momma PYG and pray.
It's hard when you need to hug and be with your child and you are miles away from them.
I thank God daily for Momma PYG!

I hung up the phone and called Flower Boy.
"We have a problem."
"Our boy is struggling with his speech.  You need to call him."

Flower Boy calls Drewman.
It went something like this...
"You can do this.  You are a leader.  You overcome adversity.  You stand at that podium and give that speech like the leader you are."

Momma PYG said everything changed when Drewman got off the phone with Flower Boy.

We arrived at the banquet.
Drewman walks up to Flower Boy.
"I'm ready!  I'm going to do what you told me.  Stand up, be a leader and give my speech."

 Our Boy takes the stage!
(Grab your tissues.)
Behind him, on the big screen, is this photo.

Wanna go on a road trip with me?  We’ll take some back roads.  Back roads are what a country boy drives when he needs to think, reflect and sort things.  So climb on in this Black Chevy Short Bed Truck and let’s go!

During our freshman year as greenhands, we all learn the FFA Creed by E.M. Tiffany.  4 years ago, I would have never thought that Creed would be so true to my life.

I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds

I’m not one to do a lot of speaking, but I am one to do my fair share of work.  
 I have learned things aren’t always about what you say, it is often times how you act and the things you do that set you apart from others.   
That old saying “Actions speak louder than words.” rings in my ears, daily.  
 Having this Blue and Gold Jacket on teaches you those actions.

- achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists;

I come from generations of past FFA members.   
Although we don’t have my PaPa’s FFA jacket, I'm wearing his FFA Ring.  
 My mom has her FFA Bear and my brother still has his FFA Jacket.  
 All were accomplished members with a long line of achievements.   
These are all reminders of where my family has been and why I am where I am today.

in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.

Struggles…. The promise of better days

In September 2012, it was the beginning of my junior year; my family lost our home in a house fire.  This FFA Chapter and parents, along with our church and community, wrapped their arms around our family. 
The night and week of the house fire, This FFA Chapter was there to support my family and help with cleanup.  Within a week, I had a new FFA Jacket and had been notified that my fees for National Convention would be taken care of.  To this day, we don’t know who made the donations but I can’t thank you enough.
That entire year was a blur; I don’t know where I would be without this Blue and Gold Jacket, My FFA Chapter, My Church and My Faith in God.
Today, we live in our newly built home and are seeing the promise of those better days.

I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.

live, work, challenges, discomforts, discouragement

It was my freshman year, my PaPa was hospitalized and dying.  
 While my mom was caring for him, I picked up the pieces and continued to keep the chores done and Drew’s EGGcelent Eggs going.  
 Again, with the support of This FFA Chapter.   
You see, I didn’t have a driver’s license.  We had to rely on others to transport me to get the job done.  It’s not always easy to step out and ask for help, but knowing This FFA Chapter and parents had my back made it easier.

I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.

Drew’s EGGcelent EGGs has been my SAE through my entire FFA Career. 
My PaPa started me in this business by providing me my first set of laying hens.  
 Owning this business has taught me so much.  
 It has made me step outside of my comfort zone.  
 I have not only sold eggs at our local farmers markets, but have made deliveries from the farm to your door.  
 I have spoken to several groups and clubs about my business and the benefits of Farm Fresh Free Range Eggs, as well as providing eggs to our local food programs. 
The FFA has provided me the ability and skills to do such things.

I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so--for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me.

For me, this paragraph means “Paying it Forward”, something I learned after the house fire.  We have always been a pay it forward family, giving away items we no longer wear or use, tithing and helping others when needed. 
But after our house fire, we had to learn to receive.  
 Being on the receiving end brought new light to the term “Pay It Forward”.  
 I always try to give more of myself and what I have to those in true need and giving appreciation for things received.  
 Something as simple as an opened door, a smile, a thank you and a simple greeting can do more to brighten ones day than you think.  
 Wealth doesn’t have to come in the form of dollars and cents.  
 I have learned, giving of myself and my abilities goes much further than anything money can buy.

I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.

That last paragraph, of the creed, wraps it all up.  
 Traditions given to me from my past generations, the work ethic instilled in me, the influences I have had at home and have given to my community have all made me a better person. 
So tonight as I hang up this Blue and Gold Jacket, I am prepared to take my next step into life and excited to see what my future holds.

              This is where it gets personal…

(This next part Drewman didn't have on paper. Some things just don't need to be written down. They flow from your heart like a river flows down a mountain.)

Drewman thanked his FFA Chapter.
He thanked his FFA Officer Team.
He thanked his Momma PYG.

He called his Dad to the stage!
Flower Boy LOST IT!
He stood up.
Walked up on that stage in tears, as Drewman boldly speaks into the microphone staring into Flower Boy's eyes and says
"Everyone knows this man is not my real dad, but for the past 5 years, he has been my dad..."
(Honestly, I don't know what else Drewman said.  I was in tears and so was the entire banquet hall.)
That boy loves Flower Boy as his father.
Flower Boy loves Drewman as his son.
No words are needed.

Drewman then looks into the audience...
"Now I need My Momma to come to the stage!"
I smiled, wiped my tears, stood up and proudly walked onto that stage.
Again, I can't tell you what Drewman said.
I do hope someone has the words down, recorded or something.
All I know is I gave him the biggest hug I have ever given him, told him "I LOVE YOU! Now, finish this!"

In closing, Drewman thanked Our Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior.

He was presented with his 2013-2014 Presidents Plaque.

 Flower Boy and I presented a Senior Scholarship in memory of My Daddy.
This was a surprise to everyone.
Only The FFA Advisor, Flower Boy and myself knew this was happening.

Let me tell you, after that retiring address, it was all I could do to read MY piece of paper!

As many of you know, My Daddy, Drew’s Papa, Bob Bower was a lifelong supporter of the Perry FFA Chapter.  As a lifetime FFA Alumni Member, he provided support yearly by donating items he built to craft and booster auctions, buying premiums at the premium sales or buying labor at the craft and labor auctions.  After his death, in October 2010, Jeffrey and I have carried out his legacy by contributing from Rockin’ B Ranch.

Daddy was a businessman, cattleman and a craftsman.  A welder by trade, in his later years, he manufactured things like smokers, swings, tables, lawn chairs, planters and plant hooks.  He was always quick to provide inventory he had on hand when the FFA kids came soliciting for donations.

Not only was Daddy a welder but he was an innovator and industrialist.  He made due with what he had and was very creative in his efforts to fix things.  Uncle Leonard tells a story of watching Daddy weld an exhaust pipe onto a tractor, which had broken off at the base, with a piece of bailing wire… AND IT HELD!  Stories have also been told that in his prime, he was the best welder in the state.

This year and in years to come, the family of Bob Bower and Rockin’ B Ranch has decided to carry out Bob’s legacy in a new way.  We will be providing an annual $500 scholarship to the most qualified FFA graduating senior, fitting Daddy’s characteristics, continuing their education either at the college level or technical school.

Words cannot express how proud we are of our boy, his leadership and his accomplishments.

Mom and Dad

I said if I could get through last night, I can make it through graduation without tears.
Flower Boy and I now have a bet!
I don't want to lose my dollar.


  1. Don't know how you did it girl. I lay in bed reading this in tears. Better get your spurs out. Lol. Love you guys and the man Drew has become..

    1. Abbi, My spurs are permanently affixed to my heals. They NEVER come off. ;-)