Martens, center, is pictured with his grandson Caleb Bormann, left,
and Sallisaw Agriculture Instructor Roger Stites, right.
Sallisaw’s mayor was given a special honor last week by the Oklahoma Future Farmers of America organization.
Mayor Ernie Martens received the Honorary State FFA Degree Tuesday, April 30, at the state FFA convention in Oklahoma City, along with 86 other recipients from across the state.
Martens said receiving the honor was very special for him.
“I spent the first 15 years of my career as a high school ag teacher. I tell everybody that 4-H and FFA made me what I am today, with the things I got from those two organizations,” Martens said. “I always tried to pass those things on to my students in FFA when I was an ag teacher.”
Throughout his career – not only as an agriculture teacher but also as a school administrator – Martens has always found ways to become involved as a volunteer with the FFA program to give back to the organization.
“In every community I’ve lived in, I’ve had the opportunity to help with stock shows, help with speeches, help with livestock, help with wherever they asked me to,” Martens added.
Receiving the award Tuesday was extra special for Martens, as his grandson, Caleb Bormann, who serves as the Sallisaw FFA Chapter Vice-President, was there to celebrate with his grandfather.
Martens was nominated for the honor by Sallisaw Agriculture teacher Roger Stites, who said Martens has always been supportive of the FFA program and its students, when he was high school principal before his retirement and even after his retirement.
The FFA organization not only prepares students for career paths in agriculture, but in other walks of life, such as leadership, public speaking and gaining confidence in one’s abilities, Martens explained. That’s why the honor meant so much to him, because the organization itself means so much to him.
“It’s just validation for the many things I’ve tried to do to help with the kids,” Martens said. “What’s most rewarding for me is to see all my former students go out in the world and be successful and have successful careers, a lot of them in ag, and others in life and business in general.”
Martens’ wife, Judy, said she and her family were so proud of him and his longtime involvement with the FFA program.
“He has been a supporter of FFA for over 40 years,” she said. “His love for these kids knows no bounds.”
Pam Cloud, Managing News Director
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