Thank you to FNGLA for this incredible honor.
The Wendell E. Butler Award is recognized as FNGLA’s most prestigious prize. This award recognizes an individual who serves the association and the industry by providing leadership, service, contributions and has shown a sincere interest in the advancement of the association and the industry.
Here is a video they made for the presentation at the annual meeting of 2016. https://vimeo.com/171630194
And my acceptance speech:
“First, I thank God for making me a gardener and giving me the passion for plants. I am closest to my Creator when I am on my knees in the dirt.
I thank my wife Cheryl. She tolerates my passion for plants and the trail of compost through the house. She is my encouragement, the woman of my dreams, the answer to my prayers.
We are grateful for our son John. He is often in the trenches with me, learning skilled labor. I don’t expect him to follow in my fertile footsteps but pray that he also finds a career that he loves with people he admires.
My parents get full credit for doing their best by steering me in the right direction. Mom was wise to send me outside to play. My father taught me the benefits of hard work.
Thanks to my previous employers who gave me opportunities, training, and priceless experiences.
I am grateful for my current employer, J.C. Diem of Southern Ag. who took a chance on hiring me 10 years ago. We share the same values of faith, family and service.
I thank the members of the Royal Palm chapter of FNGLA for even considering me as a nominee me for this highest honor.
Speaking of FNGLA, I have read the textbook for the Certified Horticulture Professional at least twenty times from cover to cover over the years. And there is one word that appears only once: Love.
“Knowledge of the product comes with love of the job, study, observation and seasoned experience.”
In another book, first Corinthians it says “If I speak the eloquence of men, but have no love, I become no more than a crashing cymbal…I achieve precisely nothing.”
My desire is not to be famous, to make followers or accumulate friends. When you visit my website and blogs you won’t find a bunch of selfies, but a lot of vivid color photos of beautiful plants.
I hope that my delight in plants is contagious.”