Now, that the Fair is over I wanted to take some time to express my appreciation for your continued dedication to these FFA kids each year!  Each year you come in & swiftly set-up your tank & bring the 12 other tanks & then remove everything in the same fashion at the Fairís end. I know your time & labor is a sacrifice & seemingly goes unnoticed.

However, it does not. Something you donít get to see is the concentration & determination on these kids faces as they size up this empty tank of water in front of them & that look of ďwhere the heck do I start.Ē But, this year was different even for me; I saw strength & the will to carry on a tradition & to honor the memory of a student, a friend, & a brother.

The students from the Kutztown FFA for the first time in 4 years, for most, put together a showing at the Allentown Fair without their best friend, John Smith, who was tragically killed in a horrific farming accident just 8 days after he graduated.

One of the students, Rachel, was strongly encouraged to take 3 of the fish tanks & just come up with something. Rachel was not excited, to say the least, about the task her advisor & I had given her. However, after an apparent much needed lengthy conversation with Rachel, on her part, you see John was Rachelís brother. At that moment, her confusion seemed to clear & she knew exactly what she wanted to do with those fish tanks.

Additionally, she felt determined to convince her parents to allow Johnís last 2 projects he had entered at the fair to be displayed for fair week, they agreed. I created a special area to display Johnís things for the week of Fair.

This is the main reason Iím writing you. Rachel took first in all 3 tanks she entered in addition to her Betta fish along with many other first place awards in other flower arrangement categories that she was inspired to enter also. However, the biggest reward came on Wednesday evening when her parents & younger sister & remaining youngest brother came into the Fair to accept an award John was to receive which then was given to a scholarship fund in his memory. The joy in her face when she shared what she did was priceless & her parents were so proud.

So you see Dave, you & Kiss Your Fish, are an important part of the Ag-Ed dept at the Allentown Fair, every year & especially this year!! Without you, there would be no fish tanks, & Rachel would have never opened herself up & embraced the memory of her brother & what he truly loved to do & wanted her to carry on in the best way possible.

So, again we all thank you for everything!

P.S. Pictures attached Ė

 Left to Right:

 Ashley Smith, Rachel Smith, Jessica Sterner, Kaitlyn Sterner, Evan Mertz & Samantha Miller

Yours in Conservation,