...was the third anniversary of the passing on of a great man, Dave Rynd. His daughter posted on her Facebook yesterday a status, asking for memories of him, that she could share with her daughters and her niece and nephew. I could only post a small portion of the story there, so decided that I could post the whole story here.
I was in my mid-20's and helping at the records table in the show arena at the Northwest Pennsylvania 4-H District Dairy Show with all the other record keepers, announcers, volunteers and staff. One of the parents came to the table and was complaining about one of the rules at the State 4-H Show that would take place three weeks later. There are a lot of rules, mostly made up by well-meaning adults, to keep the competition as fair as possible... (I could write a whole other post about this...maybe I will one of these days). This particular parent was complaining about the rule that if a substitute showman is needed for any reason, it must be pre-approved and the substitute must be the same age or younger than the 4-H'er.
I had never given it much thought, you find a younger sibling or 4-H'er and you get them to show the animal. For my family it had always been easy to find a younger person, apparently for this family it was not as easy. This led to a very intense, but respectful, discussion around the table. I don't remember who said it, but someone said a sentence to the extent of if the 4-H'er can't go to states then maybe the animal should stay home too. I didn't agree and stated that if the 4-H'er had worked with the animal all year and the animal qualified for the State Show then it should have the opportunity to be shown even if the 4-H'er had a college class clear across the state.
It was at that point that Dave Rynd looked at me and asked 'Which is more important the 4-H'er or the project animal?' Our conversation got interrupted at that point and I never had the chance to finish it with Dave. I would have loved to have heard even more of his opinion on that topic. That one small statement has stayed with me since.
While it's great to see a 4-H'er who truly puts THEIR heart and soul into a project (and thats a whole post of its own as well) come out a winner, the real lesson is what the 4-H'er learns from the project, not the ribbons and trophies that come with it. I am ashamed to admit that it took me as long as it did to figure that out. All thanks to Dave and that brief encounter we had one Labor Day weekend.
Dave passed away from cancer. A disease that takes so much. He is one of the MANY people I Relay for. I Relay to Celebrate the lives of those who have or have passed on from cancer. To Remember them. And to Fight Back against a disease that has taken too much from too many. You can visit my Relay For Life event page at www.relayforlife.org/patitusville to learn more about Relay For Life and why I participate.
Dave Rynd was a legend and I held a deep respect for such a great man. This year I will light a Luminaria in his memory and remember the man who taught me a great lesson with one simple question.