Ahead of the 2023 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, had the chance to visit with Braden Heisler of Waukomis, Oklahoma. A current Oklahoma State University Student and former FFA state officer for 2021-2022, Heisler is Oklahoma’s national FFA officer candidate for 2023.
“In order to serve as a national officer, you take a year off of college, you move away, you travel the country for a year, and so it is a really big decision,” Heisler said.
After plenty of thought, Heisler said his calling to run for a national office was impossible to ignore.
“It was very much rooted in my experience in the blue and gold jacket,” Heisler said. “When I started FFA, I didn’t really have a lot of understanding of what it meant to really be passionate about something and what it meant to really care about something. That is what I found in this jacket. This jacket provides an opportunity for every person from every background to find a place where they belong.”
Heisler said he is grateful for those who have invested in him along the way, as he believes he would not be where he is today without the help of others.
“There are FFA members just like that, who when they zip up the jacket for the first time, they don’t know what it means,” Heisler said. “If there is not somebody there to invest in them and be committed to them, then that jacket may not hold that meaning for them.”
If given the chance to serve as a national officer, Heisler said he looks forward to investing his time in others, like many did for him.
“I think there is a lot of personal growth in spending a year of my life committed to other people and really learning from their stories,” Heisler said. “I will meet a lot of people from backgrounds I have never experienced before, I will get to travel the country, and I will get to learn what it means to commit yourself in absolutely everything you are doing to a mission that is a lot greater than you are.”
Heisler will be interviewing this weekend, then after the committee votes, there will be the first “cut” made in the national officer process on Monday night- about 50 percent. The process will continue after the first cut, until six final national FFA offices have been selected. Those six will be announced on Sunday, November 4th, during the last session of the convention.
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