One Holdrege FFA adviser was recently awarded for his support and mentorship as one of the group's own struggled with an illness.
The Gary Scharf Helping Hand Award is a relatively new award among the FFA community. It’s awarded to an adviser who has gone above and beyond for his or her students. And for the community of Holdrege, Jeff Moore has been the epitome of that.
In the fall of 2012, Holdrege FFA member Braden Badertscher was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Jeff was by the family's side through it all. He put together a large benefit while Braden was ill, visited him in the hospital and pushed him to finish his FFA projects.
"He would stop by once or twice a week after Braden had treatment just to check up and see how things were going, how he was feeling, pushing him along with proficiency; and he was concerned about how Braden was doing," said Tony Badertscher, Braden’s dad .
Braden underwent surgery and treatment for the next seven months, but ultimately lost his battle in June of last year.
Shortly after Braden’s passing, the Badertschers felt strongly about nominating his teacher for the prestigious award.
"We were down at state the year before and they'd announced this new award, the Gary Scharf Helping Hand award. When things turned bad for us with Braden we were thinking about what we could do for Mr. Moore to give him a little recognition, I guess you could say for what he had done,” said Tony Badertscher.
Moore had a feeling the Badertschers had nominated him but says he was truly surprised and honored when he received the news.
"Just knowing the time that I put into things does have meaning to people, it's humbling to be recognized in this way," said Moore.
Braden’s classmates also felt their adviser was deserving of the award.
The class was about to embark on a trip to Washington, D.C. when they learned Braden had taken a turn for the worst. Moore made sure they all go to say goodbye one last time.
FFA student Ethan Moore remembers the event vividly. "Mr. Moore took out time out of our trip to get us there and talk to him and things like that. I thought that was really nice because that was the last time I got to talk to him," he said.
Though the events were tragic for the class, it brought the FFA chapter even closer, showing that FFA isn't just an ag class you share, but a family as well.