National FFA Alumni and Supporters across the nation donate their time, talent, and financial resources to support current FFA members. This year, during the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo, the FFA Alumni and Supporters awarded three members for their outstanding support of the National FFA Organization.
Candie Lehto of Wisconsin is a prime example of premier leadership. She has helped manage numerous chapter fundraisers, including a sandwich stand at the local grocery store and concession stand at the local “Music on the River” events. She has also organized banquet auction fundraisers for 130 alumni and supporters chapters as the section 8 Wisconsin representative to the state council. These banquets raise up to $8,000 annually for student scholarships to the Washington Leadership Conference. In addition, Candie has served on the Wisconsin policy/handbook and program development committees. As a part of the program development committee, she has presented workshops at the Wisconsin FFA Alumni and Supporters Convention and eight alumni and supporter training programs. Candie has also served as a national level judge for employment skills, prepared speaking and nursery landscaping. In appreciation of her dedication, Candie has received the Ocanta Falls FFA Honorary FFA Chapter Degree and the Wisconsin FFA Honorary State Degree.
Justin Sharpless of Florida is a true servant leader. He helps coach the Lake Wales FFA Agriculture Issues, FFA Ceremonies and Livestock Evaluation teams and has served as vice-president and president of the Lake Wells FFA Alumni and Supporters Chapter. He started a back to school BBQ to help grow alumni membership and is instrumental in implementing a Boston Butt fundraiser, sending FFA members to local and state events. In addition, Justin serves as a member of the Lake Wales High School Career and Technical Education Advisory Board and helps advocate for career and technical education. Justin has served as a national delegate for the Florida FFA Alumni Association and is a former Florida FFA State Officer. He is the Warner University agricultural studies department chair, where he started the Warner University State Officer Preparation Academy and taught at Camp Roar, an agricultural summer camp.
Robert Schmidig of Oregon is an advocate for agricultural education and FFA at the local, state and national levels. He served as President of Scio FFA Alumni and Supporters and as Regional Vice President and then President of the Oregon FFA Alumni and Supporters and the National FFA Alumni and Supporters Advisory Committee. He has attended numerous Alumni Development Conferences at the regional and national levels and has been a link to the poultry industry through his work for Foster Farms. Robert has also served on the National FFA Foundation Board of Trustees and as an alumni representative for the National Association for Agriculture Educators (NAAE). He attends school board meetings to advocate for agricultural education programs and is a strong supporter of the Oregon Agriculture Teachers Association. As an alumni member, Robert reminds other FFA Alumni and Supporters that their role is to support the agriculture teachers, students and goals of the National FFA Organization.
The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 760,000 student members as part of 8,700 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. National FFA Alumni & Supporters have more than 637,800 members and 2,466 chapters.