Grow #TrueLeaders Photo Contest

Most recently, Bekaert partnered with the 4-H in a nationwide competition to share the spirit of being a true leader and what that means. The result of Bekaert’s “Shout” campaign was a $500 cash prize for three random photo shares. Hundreds of touching stories were shared throughout the campaign that truly demonstrated what it means to be a true leader. In a random drawing, three leaders were selected.

First Honoree: Marissa Zolna

The first honoree was Marissa Zolna, a Florida native. Marissa’s leadership includes a yearly family tradition of placing flags on military graves at the Florida National Cemetery. As an active FFA member and Marshall Middle School chapter Vice President, Marissa volunteers to honor our veterans. Flags are placed with specific measurements, each name is read and a “Thank you for your service is given”. Reflecting on this project, Melissa said, “I think that it’s something we all take for granted, and that we should honor those who serve our country and should respect and honor them.” Marissa and her family have been doing this for the past two years. “This year we honored over a 1000 soldiers.” As Marissa moves into Tlant City High School, she plans to continue as an active member of the high school FFA chapter. This effort certainly demonstrates a #Trueleader and is a true testimonial of the pride this young lady has for not only our veterans but also the country in which she lives.

Second Honoree: Story County Iowa 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl Team

 The second selection was actually a team effort by the Story County Iowa 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl Team. Their coach, Katlyn Kahler noted, “As coach of the Story County 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl Team, I wanted to nominate the entire team because they go above and beyond the call of duty. It’s one thing to show livestock; it’s another to know livestock and they want to do more than the show ring aspect. As soon as state fair is over, they start practicing to prepare for contests.” In fact, the students were the ones who came to Kahler to put this team together because they simply wanted to learn more. “I love seeing their hard work, determination, and sense of self-responsibility and it needed to be rewarded not just on contest day. They encourage each other, push each other, and spread that encouragement to younger 4Hers to try to get them to join. They also take the knowledge and skills they gain from this team and apply it in other project areas.” Kahler says, “With the help of the prize money we are hoping to afford being able to travel to other contests. Our goal is to eventually be invited to compete at the National Western in Denver, which will depend on if the state of Iowa puts together a contest or not.”

Third Honoree: Siera Linton

The third selection was Siera Linton, a 14-year-old from Plant City, FL, who has been an active member of 4-H since she was 5 years old. She displayed her leadership and determination when she leapt into action to help save the life of a friend’s show cow that had lost its calf (still born). Working nonstop for more than three hours, Siera kept trying to get the calf out and to save the cow’s life. Siera says, “I wasn’t going to give up, and I was determined to get the calf out.” Luckily, Siera’s arms were long enough and small enough that she eventually got the calf out. Needless to say, her friend was extremely excited to know that her cow would survive. All of the adults, including the veterinarian were amazed and thankful at Siera’s never give up attitude!

The #TrueLeaders photo contest winners were featured on the Facebook page of American Cattlemen. Rick Thomas, publisher of American Cattlemen, says, “Congratulations to Marissa Zolna, the Story County Iowa 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl Team and Sierra Linton. Your photos and accompanying descriptions demonstrated exactly what the #GrowTrue Leaders theme represents. And congratulations to all of the competition photo entrants. We were overwhelmed with all of the images and stories of youth leadership in our country and pleased we could showcase all of them throughout the campaign. Check out Bekaert Fencing's Facebook page for more photos and stories!

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