Members of the 1962-1963 Indiana FFA state officer team reunite at the 84th Indiana FFA State Convention to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Pictured (from left) are: Bill Miller, student secretary; Kenneth Burk, student treasurer; Nels Ackerson, president; James Riggs, vice president; and Walter Paxson, sentinel. Absent is James Napier, who passed away last year.
Members of the 1962-1963 Indiana FFA state officer team reunite at the 84th Indiana FFA State Convention to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Pictured (from left) are: Bill Miller, student secretary; Kenneth Burk, student treasurer; Nels Ackerson, president; James Riggs, vice president; and Walter Paxson, sentinel. Absent is James Napier, who passed away last year.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — At the 84th Indiana FFA State Convention, members were able to see first-hand how friendships that are developed in the association really do last a lifetime.

During the Past State Officer Banquet, five individuals were recognized for reaching an important milestone in their FFA careers.

Nels Ackerson, Kenneth Burk, Bill Miller, Walter Paxson and James Riggs celebrated their 50th anniversary. They were Indiana FFA state officers in 1962-1963.

Ackerson, who went on to serve FFA members as their national resident in 1963-1964, said the men enjoyed the opportunity to be back at the Indiana FFA State Convention all these years later and were excited for the chance to catch up with their friends. Teammate James Napier passed away last year.

“Some of them, I have not seen for 40 to 50 years,” Ackerson noted.

As a group, they all stressed the importance for FFA members to make sure they attend school and study hard.

“Don’t pass up any opportunity to learn from others out there,” Paxson said.

Although none of them as kids dreamed of being a state FFA officer since FFA at that time largely was dominated by production agriculture, each of the men truly enjoyed their year of service.

“Don’t give up on your dreams,” Ackerson said.

After serving as a state officer, he was inspired by the national officers at the time to run for a national leadership position.

“I didn’t expect to be the president, maybe just a vice president,” he said.

Ackerson added that he hopes the officer team can reunite again sometime in the near future, hopefully at next year’s banquet.

Burk joked that they will, at least, plan on reuniting in another 50 years to celebrate their 100th anniversary.