My guy is my husband, my best friend, my business partner and one of the toughest people I know. My guy has the character traits of honesty, perseverance, integrity, faithfulness and trustworthiness that we would hope to find in any person we meet. My guy has those traits and many more so deep within that I sometimes think it is just part of his DNA. I have witnessed those qualities in a variety of circumstances that include the highs and lows of life experiences within our family and on our farm. I would like to share a few of those moments about my guy, Steve.
|My guy and me!|
Steve and I met over thirty-six years ago. We were brought together because of a wedding dance in the nearby town of Snyder. I was working for a veterinarian in Fremont at the time and was invited by a friend to go to the wedding. I did not know anyone at the wedding except for the person I was with. When we arrived at the reception there was a group of people sitting around a table that we joined. One of them was a brother to the person I was with. I happened to sit across the table from Steve. I soon learned that Steve and several others in the group had attended the same college I had recently graduated from, the University of Nebraska at Curtis. We shared numerous stories and similar adventures of college days. Steve learned of my interest in horses and began to tell me about this horse he had that could turn on a dime and about the feedlot his family had. As the night drew to a close he gave me an invitation to visit his farm and ride this amazing horse of his. I couldn’t remember his name but noticed when he stood up and turned away that he had the name “Steve” imprinted on his belt.
The next day I was visiting with my aunt in Omaha and telling her about this guy, Steve. I couldn’t get his blue eyes and our conversational ease out of my mind. I didn’t need to worry about contacting him because as I unlocked the vet clinic door on Monday morning the phone was ringing with Steve on the other end asking if I’d like to go horseback riding. I said yes and that began our dating relationship leading to our engagement. We were married in September of 1981.
|Steve and I had a horse and buggy ride from the church to the
reception. We endured a few trials before the wedding including
the loss of Steve’s brother in a car accident, the loss of my uncle
to cancer and a horse injury to me that had me on crutches.
Our adventure as a married couple began on a vacant farm place that we filled with dedication and love. Steve gave me free reign to wallpaper and decorate our old farmhouse to make it a home for the five children that would eventually fill it. We started making plans for Steve’s vision of what our farm could be. Then the farm crisis hit. It was during those years that I saw how committed Steve was to our family and to our farm. Steve’s work ethic kicked into overdrive as he placed feeder pigs in every empty farm building he could lease. Steve drew up cash flow plans to gain the trust of the bank loan officer. We survived the 80’s and changed course from feeding pigs to expansion of the feedlot. Steve was a cattle feeder down to his core and worked on his vision of putting into place the potential our farm had to be a feedlot.
|Steve, like many farmers, is very good at finding solutions
to problems. His grandfather had patents that were
developed on our farm. Here Steve is putting up water lines
he designed to mist water out over the cattle in hot weather.
The feedlot was able to grow because we had customers. We had people that would own the cattle and then pay us to feed and care for them. It was very important to Steve to always be very honest in pricing the feed and caring for the cattle. While Steve enjoyed the friendships gained through those customers, it was his dream to own all of the cattle. The work ethic, drive to succeed, openness to using the future’s market to manage risk and a whole lot of prayer has allowed Steve’s dream to come true.
|Steve continues to look for ways to improve our cattle handling
skills including using low stress techniques. Here Steve and I
are bringing cattle up to the barn for further examination.
Today Steve continues to work as hard as he did forty years ago. He is up at 5 a.m. and packs more in a day than some folks do in a week. It is not because Steve is a superman. Steve is passionate about what he does and he has the determination to work through all types of weather to make sure the cattle get the best care he can give them.
|Steve has his fence fixing supplies ready to go.|
My guy has a lot of passion for his job, and yet it pales to the affection he has for his family. Steve welcomed each of our children with great joy and enthusiasm. He is known for sharing his breakfast in the mornings, grilling new meals with beef at supper and tales of covered wagon stories at bedtime. He also wrote many Christmas poems that combined a unique message with a special gift for each member of the family. Now Steve is taking great pleasure in spending time with his grandchildren whenever he can.
|Our three grandchildren are gathered around Steve with our
oldest daughter Ginger standing in the background.
The foundation of all of this passion, dedication, determination, affection, trustworthiness, loyalty, tenacity and love is his faith. Steve continues to grow in his desire to be a holy man of God. Much of that growth has come through prayer and reading. Steve is known for the many books he has going at one time and many of those have to do with spiritual growth. Steve would love to pass on our farm to one of our children or grandchildren. Even more important to him would be the passing on of the faith he has received from his father.
|Steve learned to farm and feed cattle from his dad, Francis. Last
fall Francis became suddenly sick spending the last few days
of his life in the hospital. The night before Francis died Steve
gave his dad as much comfort and love as he could.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13: 34-35