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It's another year of our scholarship committee completing the important task of selecting scholarship recipients. We had 20 great candidates. I have to say that this is quite fulfilling on numerous fronts. First and foremost, our industry has great future leaders that are up and coming.

The candidates ranged from incoming freshman to graduate students finishing their doctorate. These are hardworking, roll‐up‐your‐sleeves young adults. I started my journey in this great industry when my ‘friend’ got me a job at her father’s garden center. I remember the day well, pulling all the plants out of the display bed (an area surrounded by railroad ties), weeding the bed with a ‘scuffle hoe’ then putting the plants back. Then go to the next one. I was
often working with a gentleman named Al Carter. Al loved to talk about the plants as we moved them.  How they grow, what condition they like, if they produce fruit etc. That sure helped the day go by and more importantly it sparked my interest. Al would be what I would call a mentor that initially propelled me into the horticulture field. That was 1974. Now, 48 years later, I still pull a weed here and there. My journey would not have happened and progressed without the beautiful support of Al, not to mention that ‘friend’ who is now my best friend, life partner and wife Theresa, Theresa’s father Harry Witte, and  many mentors along the way.

I am speaking to the choir when I say the people in this industry are the best. The best in sharing information and ideas, the best in sharing time, the best in encouraging and the best in all around support 

I feel my story is like many people in the horticulture industry.  It is important to remember how our support of future industry leaders is priceless. Support by encouragement, answering questions that they might have, sharing past experiences and financially helping them get their education.

NHF was able to award $29,000 this year thanks to your generous support. Remember we only spend earnings not principal. That means your gift will keep on giving for years to come. I ask you to look back on all the opportunities others have given you and consider paying back, or shall I say paying forward, with a donation to NHF. Great things will come from it.

Help me celebrating and recognize the 2022/2023 scholarship recipients!