Several years ago a good friend of mine and me both knew a mutual acquaintance who was an ag economics professor. Both of us had interviewed him in his office and written stories with him as the source. One Friday morning he was out jogging before work, like he did quite frequently, and passed away suddenly from a heart attack.
Later that day, someone asked my friend how his day was going. "Well, compared to my ag economics friend, I'd say my day is going pretty well."
That's not meant to be funny, but it is full of perspective. At least my friend thought so. A lot of little things can go wrong that bug us, from an animal being sick to the trailer lights not working to a light bulb going out when you really need to see. But as long as you're alive, have faith in God and a family that loves you, what more do you need?
The recent Oklahoma tornadoes were a gut-check even for those who live in Oklahoma where tornadoes are part of life. What made it more lifelike for me was that less than three weeks before that, I was coaching high school kids in soil judging at the National Land Judging Contest, based in Oklahoma City. We recognized the names – Moore, Edmond, Shawnee – we had either been through them or near them as we traveled around, practicing for soils and participating in the contest. We had even visited a local rancher. One day after the Moore tornado, his farm was pelted with huge hail. That's after his corn crop had been frosted or frozen of four times already. He was just recovering and still cleaning up from a tornado that went right through his farm one year ago.
Suddenly the satellite TV going out and missing part of the Pacers game due to a thunderstorm doesn't seem like such a big deal. People lost their lives, their livelihoods and for those that can put it back together, it will take years. The scars will remain.
Some of you still have corn to plant. It's late and that's discouraging. But compared to real tragedy, it's likely you will survive.
The Benton Central FFA Chapter is taking action. Some of their students were also in Oklahoma for the soils contest, and now they want to help. They're collecting money and gift cards for the FFA chapter in Moore, Okla. And they're also collecting money for FFA members of the Carney FFA. Members of the Carney FFA still have animals left to care for. They need fencing and the like. So Benton Central will set up an account with a farm supply store there. The kids in Moore lost everything. They don 't need money for feed – there's nothing to feed.
If you want to help, contact Amanda Mullins, FFA advisor, at Benton Central High School, Oxford, Ind., at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 812-686-6242. We'll remind you again with stories during the week. They hope to get money and gift cards to the victims by the end of the week, or early next week.
As you're writing that check or buying that gift card, remember that the true measure of a person is what they do when the chips are down. You may think the chips are down for you, but they're blown apart for thousands of people just like you in Oklahoma. They need your prayers and your help.