From the Field: Thanksgiving in Good Times and In Bad

From the Field is a bi-monthly column written by Mark Campbell, Farm Bureau Field Services Director for the Central District. He writes about Farm Bureau member benefits and County Farm Bureau activities.

Ann Slemp
President of Lee County Farm Bureau
Thanksgiving is next week. The First Thanksgiving lasted three days and the feasting of the bountiful harvest was accompanied by thanks to God for His blessings.  Thanksgiving continued in an informal and sporadic fashion over the centuries, but was recognized as an official holiday or national day of thanksgiving and praise by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.  Interestingly enough, this year marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg battle of the Civil War (July 1-3), Gettysburg Address (November 19) and President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day proclamation (October 3).
Lee County Farm Bureau (LCFB) and president, Ann Slemp, are recognizing prayer and Thanksgiving as a way to help improve the quality of life in the county and the country.  Ann said that “the coal mines are closing because EPA won’t renew permits, the local hospital closed, and a call center closed.  The cost of living is expensive with increased taxes, more regulations, and increasing costs of daily goods.  Something has to turn things around.”  So the LCFB started a Prayer Guard to pray for the farmers, Lee County, and the entire country.  They are very concerned about the future.  The Prayer Guard started this month and is held at the LCFB office every Thursday night, and will conclude on Thanksgiving night.  Nine ministers, several members, and people from the community have been involved.  The purpose of the Prayer Guard is to pray for improvement of the current situation and have our country turn back to God.  

Ann has been president of LCFB since 1981.  In addition to leading LCFB, Ann was awarded Virginia Farm Bureau FarmWoman of the Year in 2012.  She has spearheaded several initiatives over the years.  When the hospital closed, the next closest hospital became an over one hour drive.  Ann’s concern for the Farm Bureau members and the community caused her to seek a solution.  She secured Air EVAC Lifeteam, a medical aircraft carrier for emergency hospital deliveries.  This is a paid service, but LCFB was able to negotiate discounts for Farm Bureau members.  Air EVAC was present at the 2013 LCFB annual meeting, and members waited in line to sign up. 
Another service to the community that is provided by LCFB is a weekly radio program.  The radio program provides agriculture and community news and has advertisements for Farm Bureau.  Regular news comes from Farm Bureau, FSA, and Virginia Cooperative Extension.  The program runs every Monday on WSWV, 105.5 FM from 8:00-9:00pm.  The radio program is playing gospel music this month in conjunction with the Prayer Guard.
LCFB has been a significant benefit to Lee Countycitizens.  As we approach Thanksgiving Day, let’s all be thankful and say a prayer for all of the county Farm Bureaus and their leaders across this country.  They not only help agriculture, but in many cases they hold the fabric of the community together to make a better place. 
Until next time,

Mark 

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