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Iowa FFA South Central State Vice President (In remembrance of our friend and co-worker Kris Christensen)

Author: Kristy

How Will You Be Remembered?

        We all have people in our lives that are worth remembering, and it seems no matter what we say, it will never do them justice. We think of them a lot while in the midst of challenges and joys, and we can’t help but want to shape ourselves to be more like them. Starting at a young age, I was blessed enough to have a lady named Kris in my life who modeled to me the true meaning of living to serve. When I think of the question “How will you be remembered?”, my mind automatically jumps to Kris, and I would like to share why.

        Starting in high school, Kris was blessed enough to be able and wear the blue corduroy jacket. In 1979, she was elected as a NW District Officer (keep in mind, girls membership had only been opened for 10 years at this point). While traveling to a district event during the winter of that year, the trip took a turn for the worse. She and her team were involved in a bad car accident, leaving the District President out of commission for a while and leaving Kris with two shattered cheek bones and a broken hand. While it could have been easy for her to simply give up the position because of the challenges it presented at the time, quitting has never been a part of Kris’ vocabulary. From that moment forward, Kris knew exactly how vast her passion for agriculture and serving others was. Even though her blue corduroy jacket had been hung up the following year, the impact of the blue and gold had been tattooed on her heart forever. 

        Kris was heavily involved with our local county fair, the Earlham FFA Alumni, and investing her time in the future of agriculture. In the spring of 2014, I had the opportunity to compete in the Team Ag Sales CDE with three other amazing teammates. During our preparation and practice, it seemed only second nature to Kris to help us with this process. She spent hours offering advice, practicing sales calls, and talking about our personal FFA experiences, something that my team and I could never thank her enough for. Though the nerves were high, my team and I pulled through to be named Team Ag Sales Champions, where we would be competing the next fall in Kentucky. Kris was the very first one we called after learning of these successes, and was eager to help us begin to prepare once again in the fall.

        On October 10th, exactly three weeks until we competed at Nationals, I received the heart-shattering news that my biggest role model had passed away unexpectedly. While the pain was unreal at the time for her family and us as FFA members and teammates, one of the most eyeopening things happened to me. As I tried to shuffle through my closet finding something to wear to her visitation, I stopped and looked at my FFA jacket. I started thinking about all the great memories she had helped me gain through her dedication and selflessness towards FFA members, and with that, I suited up in official dress along with my teammates. I can still picture the smiles and joyful tears her family had that night from seeing those FFA jackets in that unexpected place. 

        Like I said before, this will never do Kris justice for the difference she made in my community and FFA chapter. Although it saddens me to have Kris as a memory now, it also is a challenge that we as FFA members should strive to live for. It is easy to get caught up in the daily challenges life presents us with, but it is how we go about those that ultimately determine how we will be remembered. Will we be remembered for a generation that is too engrossed with technology and classified as lazy? Will we be remembered for the generation who is unaware of the world around them? Will we be remembered for self-fulfillment and being the “me” generation? I don’t know about you, but when I look at FFA members collectively, we simply cannot sit still and let our world keep turning. We cannot be remembered for this. However, it begins now. It begins with the simple and little acts of service. It begins with stepping outside our comfort zone and maybe going to that leadership conference or competing in a new CDE. It begins with putting down the phone just long enough to see the needs in our community and rising up to meet those needs. It begins with having a mentality like Kris, where we will not give up when things don’t go right the very first time. It begins in knowing our purpose of wearing the blue corduroy jacket. And lastly, it begins with asking yourself this question and guiding your life with your response to “How will you be remembered?”.  

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