Ryan Horner of the Boswell area was recognized as Somerset County's Outstanding FFA Student for 2012 at a special ceremony held April 28 at the Hillcrest Grange hall in Brothersvalley Township.
The award plaque was presented to the Jenner Township resident by Nancy Boucher, youth chairwoman, and James F. Mowry, Master of the Somerset County Pomona Grange at the spring "youth night" meeting of the Somerset County Pomona Grange.
The 2012 recipient is the son of Kerry D. and Rita Horner of the Boswell area, who were also present for the ceremony. Horner, who is a senior at the North Star High School, is also enrolled in the forestry program at the Somerset County Tech Center. Rob Harrold, the honoree's forestry instructor and FFA adviser at the Tech Center, shared some of the highlights of the past three years that Horner has been enrolled in his classes and also congratulated him for his dedication to school and community projects.
When he graduates this spring from high school, Horner plans to attend Allegany College of Maryland (ACM) to study forestry, a career that is of great interest to him and a field that also employs his father.
Horner serves as chapter president of the Tech Center's FFA Chapter and as the Sentinel of the Somerset County FFA Chapter. He has participated in various forestry contests, the parliamentary procedure team, and has received the Western Star award. At North Star High School, Horner has been involved in both the wrestling and soccer programs.
The honoree listed hunting, spending time in the woods, splitting fire wood, and working on his 2007 Chevy Cobalt as being several favorite hobbies. As a means for assisting with paying the bills involved in owning his auto and paying his car insurance bills, he devotes many hours toward cutting and selling firewood. The morning of the presentation, Horner was up at 4 a.m. and into the woods of a neighboring farm to herald the opening of turkey season.
David R. Hay, program director of the Pomona Grange, provided the official welcome from Hillcrest members. He substituted for Leon W. Paul, who has served many years as the Master (president) of Hillcrest Grange. Paul, who was visiting Lancaster County the day of the presentation, received a similar award as Pomona Grange's Outstanding FFA Student 50 years ago as a senior at the Berlin Brothersvalley High School, where he graduated in 1962.
Hay also expressed the beauty of the rural landscape in Somerset County during April and especially being excited about spring activities this year after him and his wife, Virginia, had the opportunity to revisit the middle Rhine River area of Germany as well as the farming villages of his ancestors in the Rhineland-Pfalz for 16 days in April.
After the singing of "Count Your Blessing" with piano accompaniment by Esther Mowry, Pomona Master Jim Mowry conducted Pomona's business meeting. Mowry, co-chairwoman of the family activities committee, shared about the sewing outing held during which the group knotted lap robes and made walker caddies. As a health tip, she encouraged the reading of labels when shopping for food products at the grocery store.
Nancy Boucher, youth chairwoman for Pomona Grange, coordinated and narrated the evening's program. She announced the 2012 fair booth theme as being: "The Grange .. Reaches Out to the Community." She also provided two contests: Word by Word and Fraze-It to involve audience participation.
Somerset County Grangers have been invited to join Cambria and several additional counties for a covered-dish picnic to be held beginning at 2 p.m. June 3 at the Buckhorn Grange near Wilmore in Cambria County.
Hillcrest will host the second visitation program of Pomona Grange beginning at 7 p.m. May 9. Hillcrest and the Pomona Lecturer's Committee are in charge of the program, whose theme will be "It's Your Money, Keep It!" Two York County Grangers will be presenting the program. Hillcrest officers will fill the chairs and Wills, Kingwood and Hillcrest Grangers will share in the refreshments.