Local 4-H club recognizes veterans at annual breakfast

Local 4-H club recognizes veterans at annual breakfast
Scott Daniels

The Happy Harvesters 4-H group has 23 members from a broad local area including Stonecreek, East Sparta, Dover and Strasburg.


The social hall at Strasburg First Lutheran Church was filled to capacity on Saturday, April 27 as the Happy Harvesters 4-H club served a pancake breakfast to more than 60 veterans and their families.

The club puts together a free breakfast each year as a way to say thank you to the veterans for their service to the country. Happy Harvesters members individually invited military veterans and their families to attend.

“With the veterans, their families and our 4-Hers,” Happy Harvesters leader Katie Garber Vickers of Strasburg said, “there were close to 100 people, a great turnout this year.”

The club has been sending cards to deployed veterans at Christmastime for the past seven years, and this marks the fifth year for the veterans thank you breakfast.

The members vote for the projects they want to do, and these two are always chosen. “With these two projects, the kids learn a lot about the men and women who serve our country and how important what they do is to all of us. The kids always want to do what they can for them and to give back a bit,” Vickers said.

The vets like it too. Vickers said she has been rather surprised at the amount of positive feedback she’s received this year. “You know, some of the veterans came an hour early, which was great. They enjoy coming for the program and seeing what the kids do. And we’ve seen posts on social media talking about the great time they had with us. The kids do a fantastic job honoring those who serve,” she said.

The 4-H members served about 80 breakfasts, and to help fund all those pancakes, the club holds a craft show in the fall each year. They also did something extra and a little different this year.

“We put together a T-shirt sponsorship program,” Vickers said. “Area businesses have spaces on the 100 shirts, and we’ll be giving them a lot of shout-outs in everything we do this year. It’s worked out well and gives us a little extra money to work with going forward this year.”

A steady flow of donated door prizes were distributed throughout the Saturday morning program.

After the meal the 4-H kids offered a program. The members had been challenged to write essays with the theme, “What does patriotism mean to you and why is it important?”

Two age categories participated. Winning the 9-12 group was Peyton Vickers while Grace Haswell had the best essay for age 13-17. Vickers said the judges were unaware who the entries were written by, and the panel was made up of one mother of a currently deployed soldier, one veteran and one area pastor. The young authors read their essays aloud to the group of gathered veterans before the winners were announced.

After a brief skit, the 4-Hers gathered at one end of the room. Peyton Vickers began singing “Proud to Be an American,” and near the end, the rest of the members joined behind her. Vickers said she was unprepared for what happened next as all the vets in the room rose to their feet in respect. “It was quite an emotional moment,” she said.

The group is heavily involved in many 4-H projects, which Vickers said cover everything imaginable. “There are livestock projects, of course, steers, goats, chickens, and also things like cake decorating, the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse, scrap-booking, finance — it’s a wide field of projects they’re able to do,” she said.

The Happy Harvesters 4-H group has 23 members from a broad local area including Stonecreek, East Sparta, Dover and Strasburg.

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