Bill Brinker gathered with the current Durand FFA Officer Team for a photo after being presented with his 1958 FFA jacket preserved in a shadow box.

Throughout the years, FFA has still held a special place in the heart of one Durand graduate. Bill Brinker, class of 1958, spent many years wondering what had happened to his beloved Durand FFA jacket until very recently.

While unpacking boxes for The Closet, Mary Vormezeele Erickson came across the FFA jacket belonging to Bill. After sending it to school with her son and current Durand FFA Vice President, Josh, we began to try to find out to whom this jacket belonged. With the help of Rhonda Stockdale and the Durand High School 1958-1959 yearbook, we were able to start piecing the puzzle together. After a few messages and phone calls, FFA Advisor Emily Newcomer was able to speak with Bill and tell him the good news. On Monday, May 24, Bill and his wife, Sandy, were able to come to Durand High School to see the jacket. Current officers were there to meet them, hear stories, and share how FFA has changed over the years.

The officer team decided they wanted to purchase a shadow box in which to preserve the jacket. In addition to the jacket, Bill was also able to find his original pins and a few award ribbons that will also be placed in the shadow box.

This piece of Durand FFA history will be cherished for years to come. From the time the program ended in 1988 to when it was restarted in 2018, much of the history and awards have been misplaced, making this memento even more special.

“Finding this jacket makes me more motivated to learn about the history of our FFA Chapter and continue its traditions,” current Durand FFA Treasurer Jeff McLean said.

Meeting Bill will hold a special place in the memory of those present that afternoon. We may outgrow the jacket, but we will never outgrow the experience.

If you have any Durand FFA history you would like to share, please contact the school at 815-248-2171.

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