GROWMARK Foundation Awards FFA Jackets to 2022 Recipients
Builta family announces program to continue into 2023 and beyond
In April 2019, Mike Builta, a GROWMARK vice president and long-time employee, passed away unexpectedly. To honor his memory, the GROWMARK Foundation committed to provide a total of 100 FFA jackets to FFA members in Illinois with funds donated in Builta’s memory. The 25 jackets awarded in 2022 fulfill that commitment.
However, the Builta family has agreed to continue the program in 2023 and beyond.
“Through the generous donations that were made when Mike passed away, we were able to establish this program for four years,” said Sheila Builta. “Along with my daughters Haley and Kelsey, I have decided to keep the program going. We have enjoyed reading all the applications over the years and seeing just what it means to be a part of FFA and what the jacket means to each applicant. I am grateful we are able to honor Mike in this way.”
Students submitted an essay explaining what an FFA jacket means to them and their goals as an FFA member.
The 2022 recipients are:
- Faith Aber Bureau Valley FFA Wyanet, Illinois
- LeeAnn Agee Maroa-Forsyth FFA Maroa, Illinois
- Ali Ballinger Triopia FFA Arenzville, Illinois
- Avery Barnard Wayne City FFA Wayne City, Illinois
- Robin Barrett Streator FFA Streator, Illinois
- John Barringer Clinton FFA Clinton, Illinois
- Ethan Belsher Taylorville FFA Taylorville, Illinois
- Rye Bliler Taylorville FFA Taylorville, Illinois
- Katelyn Clapp Macon-Meridian FFA Decatur, Illinois
- Will Curtin Taylorville FFA Blue Mound, Illinois
- Grace Haack Rolling Meadows FFA Arlington Heights, Illinois
- Peyton Kies Geneseo FFA Geneseo, Illinois
- Dawsyn McDonald Geneseo FFA Geneseo, Illinois
- Danielle Monsess Newark FFA Newark, Illinois
- Marilyn Morel Newark FFA Newark, Illinois
- Logan Newberg Clinton FFA Clinton, Illinois
- Colton Snow Breese Central FFA Breese, Illinois
- Toby Steffen Newark FFA Newark, Illinois
- Cheyenne Stephens Mahomet-Seymour FFA Mahomet, Illinois
- Walker Stewart Nokomis FFA Nokomis, Illinois
- Cody Taylor Streator FFA Streator, Illinois
- Katrina Wahl Bureau Valley FFA Walnut, Illinois
- Lily Westphal Newark FFA Newark, Illinois
- Kendall Whiteaker Serena FFA Marseilles, Illinois
- Jacey Wilkins Odin FFA Odin, Illinois
Builta was raised on a family farm near Bellflower, Illinois. He was an active FFA member and lifelong supporter of agricultural education. He held GROWMARK System management roles at Christian County Farmers Supply Company in Taylorville, Illinois and GRAINCO FS in Ottawa, Illinois, before becoming GROWMARK vice president of Energy and Logistics in 2018.
About the GROWMARK Foundation:
The GROWMARK Foundation was formally incorporated in 2005 and supports 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organizations. The Foundation is focused on programs and activities which support: the vitality of the industry of agriculture; agriculture education and consumer understanding of agriculture's contributions to society and the economy; agricultural leadership development; and education about the benefits of the cooperative way of doing business. The GROWMARK System has been involved in a variety of philanthropic efforts, including youth and young leader education and development and scholarships, for decades.