I come across so many people who do not know what the Texas FFA is all about. I can honestly say I didn’t fully understand until my son joined this organization in 8th grade – it quickly became his passion. My son, Johnny Callan, competed in numerous FFA competitions and participated in many events. Although he loved to win, it wasn’t the winning that impacted him most – it was the people he met and got to know along the way. Through the FFA he traveled all over the state meeting new people and developing his leadership skills. Through this experience he found a true passion … meeting and serving others.
Of all the contest, Johnny loved land judging the most. Looking at land, soil, and various plants while determining their name or usage was exciting and challenging to him. We would be driving down the road and he would yell “mom, STOP!” I would panic and pull over. He just wanted to see if that was yarrow, another of his favorite plants, or something he had never seen before. His team won the National Range Competition and he was high point individual. He enjoyed land judging and mentored other students and helping them practice – empowering them for success.
Johnny was blessed with great agriculture science teachers. His teachers invested much of their own time in teaching, practicing and inspiring him to be better. They encouraged him to be more involved – preparing him for career success. He dreamed BIG and worked at it. My son’s goal was to become the president of the Texas FFA Association and National FFA Association.
Not just a dream … he had a plan. He said he would accomplish this by working hard, staying humble and having a positive influence on the lives of others. Unfortunately, his life was cut short at the young age of 17. Johnny died in a one vehicle accident while he was headed to a goat show – he loved his supervised agriculture experience (SAE) and the chance to share time with so many FFA friends.
Just before we lost Johnny, he wrote this speech. “I’ve found my purpose, my passion, and what I wish to pursue. I want to end my FFA career knowing that I have left a meaningful impact in someone else’s life. I’ve worked countless amounts of hours doing what I can to inspire others.”
Over 1,500 people attended my son’s funeral; over 300 of those wore the blue and gold FFA jackets. Johnny lived a legacy and left an impact when he departed this earth. The LiveLikeJohnny Organization has been established to carry out his legacy and to continue impacting the lives of others – his dream is still alive.
As I mom, I know what the Texas FFA is all about. It is equipping our children with life skills empowering them for a lifetime of success. The FFA teaches our children to serve, to be a servant leaders and invest in others. My son was successful, he was richly blessed and lived a legacy through the Texas FFA. I can only hope every other mom, dad, brother, sister and grandchild can have the incredible experience the Texas FFA has given my family.