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28 NorthWood FFA Youths Are Ready to Go to Work

by Jerry Goshert

Published: Friday, March 8, 2019

Twenty-eight youths from the NorthWood FFA chapter offered their services to the highest bidder during the annual FFA worker auction last Tuesday evening in Nappanee. The auction was the highlight of the chapter's annual community appreciation dinner.

For the most part, the shy farm kids had a good idea who would be bidding for the right to put them to work. The crowd of 115 included many parents, grandparents, employers and neighbors who came to the event with the intention of supporting the FFA youths.

The FFA students also knew that, when the time came for them to take their turn on the auction block, there was a good chance they would receive some good-natured teasing from auctioneer Dale Nunemaker, who lives in the community and knows some of the youths quite well.

This was especially true for the Seth Homes, a freshman who likes football and plans to become a veterinarian someday. Observing that Homes was wearing a red shirt, Nunemaker announced that Seth really wanted to wax down a red-colored International tractor, suggesting that as possible work project for the successful bidder.

The 14-year-old, who actually prefers John Deere equipment, could only shake his head in disagreement as the auctioneer continued with his remarks.

Nunemaker revealed that he knows Seth's family quite well, and that the teasing was part of a long-running joke between he and Seth about tractor colors.

Finally, the bidding commenced and the gavel fell at $290, with Seth's grandfather securing the high bid.

Nunemaker then joked that he would seek to work out a deal with Seth's grandfather to have him wax an International tractor.

Homes was observed shaking his head as he walked away.

Another youth offering his services to the highest bidder was 17-year-old Keaton Kitson. His future plans include attending college, then pursuing a career in the livestock industry. That kind of work ethic appealed to two supporters, Bob Kitson, his grandfather, and Rudy Glingle, a local swine breeder who employs Keaton. They paid a combined $750 for four hours of Keaton's future labor. Likely tasks include general farm work and doing some outside cleaning, according to Keaton's father, Jeff.

In some cases, the worker auction became an opportunity for some in the community to give back to the FFA program. Ryan Blosser is a sophomore who serves as chapter sentinel. Prior to the event, he spread the word about an opportunity to purchase four hours of his services.

The recruiting effort apparently paid off, as his employer, Casey Weldy of Wakarusa, won the bidding at $675.

Weldy, who owns a custom hay baling service, said he plans to put Blosser to work this summer baling hay and helping out around the farm. That news didn't come as a surprise to Blosser, who was going to do the work anyway. The only difference is that the money he would have earned from his employment will now go to the FFA chapter.

A former FFA member, Weldy considers himself to be a "proud supporter" of the agricultural youth organization and was happy to write the check.

Altogether, the worker auction raised $8,500, which the chapter will use to help members attend contests and conventions, among other things.

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