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