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Community support rebuilds a barn

The brave men and women who serve on the Indiana National Guard’s ag training team in Afghanistan do community service work in a land where not everyone wants the community rebuilt. Perhaps once upon a time, a few of them were FFA members.

At the same time, perhaps someday some of the 200 FFA students who helped restore Tom and Kerry Dull’s barn will serve their country. It’s all community service, just on a different level.

Key Points

• More than 200 volunteers helped restore the Dull barn.

• Lucy Whitehead says the project is about learning the value of community service.

• FFA students love the chance to interact with other FFA members.


Most of the restoration work was completed in two days. But just as with Guard missions, it took months of planning. Besides Tom Dull, Don Haberlin, ag instructor at Western Boone High School, and Patrick Padgett, ag instructor at Clinton Prairie FFA, were on the planning team. Some doors and windows were built in their shops. Then on the appointed days, each brought dozens of students to the site.

Big picture

The Dull barn restoration will help the Dull family in their Christmas tree operation. But it also preserves history.

Campbell’s Soup Co. started the effort, which was designed to strengthen the connection between people who eat food and people who produce it. There was an earlier round of barn restoration, notes Lucy Whitehead, with the National FFA Ag Alumni. Five barns were selected for this round, including the Dulls’ barn.

“We feel this is what community service is all about,” Whitehead says. “It’s important to the families whose barns are restored. But it’s also an opportunity to share with non-ag people why FFA and ag education are so important.”

“This was all about gaining leadership skills,” says Jaclyn Bush, president of Clinton Prairie FFA near Frankfort. “We learned responsibility. And it gave us confidence that we can put physical skills to work.”

Indeed, students were busy painting, hammering, sawing and building.

Her adviser agrees. “We were teaching kids how to get their hands dirty,” Padgett says. “At the same time, we gave them an opportunity to meet other kids.”

Some of those kids were from a third FFA chapter in Cissna Park, Ill., located west of Fowler. That school worked on the original barn restoration project Campbell sponsored.

“Fifteen of us came here each day to help, but we also came to meet other FFA members,” says Clayton Corley, a Cissna Park FFA alumni member, now at Parkland Community College.

“We really like the opportunity to help, but we also love mingling with other FFA kids,” he says.

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Meet and work: Even though everyone stayed hard at work, Jacyln Bush says kids found time to interact.

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Teamwork time: Four Clinton Prairie FFA members work together. They include (from left) Brandon Dirbas, Dave Mang, Clint Myers and Chris Bowdy.

This article published in the June, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.