The GROWMARK Foundation continues its commitment to FFA by giving away 25 more FFA jackets this fall. The effort honors the legacy of Mike Builta, a GROWMARK vice president and long-time employee who passed away unexpectedly in 2019.
Mike’s wife Sheila, along with daughters Haley and Kelsey, wished to honor his memory by providing 100 FFA jackets to Illinois FFA members — 25 each year from 2019-2022.
“FFA was a huge influence in Mike’s life and career,” added Sheila Builta. “He would be pleased to help future students have the opportunity to wear the blue jacket just as he did.”
This year, Illinois FFA members were asked to answer the question “What does the FFA jacket mean to you?”. They were also asked to share the main goal they wished to accomplish as an FFA member.
The 2020 recipients are:
• Thomas (TJ) Conner — Galva FFA in Galva, Illinois
• Taylor Fry — Genoa-Kingston in FFA Genoa, Illinois
• Banan Garada — Urbana FFA in Urbana, Illinois
• Danielle Giacinto — Streator FFA in Streator, Illinois
• Chloe Grant — Taylorville FFA in Owaneco, Illinois
• Mia Hernandez — Bureau Valley FFA in Sheffield, Illinois
• Cash Hubbard — Sterling FFA in Sterling, Illinois
• Maera Jimenez — Marquette Academy FFA in Ottawa, Illinois
• Sydney Long — Streator FFA in Streator, Illinois
• Vincent McKinney — Wayne City FFA in Bluford, Illinois
• Jett Mehalic — Streator FFA in Streator, Illinois
• Claire Meyer — Tuscola FFA in Arcola, Illinois
• Madison Morton — Pecatonica FFA in Pecatonica, Illinois
• Abby Norris — Taylorville FFA in Palmer, Illinois
• Macy Sager — Pecatonica FFA in Pecatonica, Illinois
• Tessa Saxe — Morrisonville FFA in Morrisonville, Illinois
• Alexis Spivey — Galva FFA in Galva, Illinois
• Ella Thacker — Bureau Valley FFA in Walnut, Illinois
• Alexis Walkling — Streator FFA in Kangley, Illinois
• Elizabeth Weidner — Teutopolis FFA in Dieterich, Illinois
• Ethan Weidner — Teutopolis FFA in Dieterich, Illinois
• Carter Westphal — Newark FFA in Newark, Illinois
Builta was raised on a family farm near Bellflower, Illinois. He was an active FFA member and lifelong supporter of agricultural education. He held GROWMARK System management roles at Christian County Farmers Supply Company in Taylorville, Illinois and GRAINCO FS in Ottawa, Illinois, before becoming GROWMARK’s vice president of Energy and Logistics in 2018.