By Kathi Bliss
Though his life was clipped short by a tragic car accident on Sept. 15, Jacob Parish’s legacy will live on through the efforts of his family and friends.
Representatives of DMX and Lockhart FFA announced this week the creation of the Jacob Ross Parish Scholarship Fund, which will allow the award of an annual scholarship to an eligible FFA student in Caldwell County or the surrounding area.
“Jacob was the kind of kid who didn’t stay in the background if he saw someone needed help,” said Lockhart High School FFA advisor Jeff Witte. “He would jump right in there and help. He just had that kind of initiative.”
Parish, a 2007 graduate of Lockhart High School, used that same initiative and desire to help throughout his life, Witte said. A regular participant – and winner – in the Caldwell County Junior Livestock Show, Parish could often be seen in the show ring helping younger exhibitors control their own hogs, taking his eyes off his own project to give a helping hand where he could.
Witte said that helping hand extended outside the show ring and the circle of FFA Parish’s friends.
“He never met an enemy,” Witte said. “He liked everyone right off, and everyone liked him. He was friendly, polite and cordial, and I think it’s a true testament to his character how many students, how many groups of kids, he touched when he was here.”
Witte said students from all walks of life attended Parish’s funeral to pay tribute to a young man who, according to Witte, was simply “remarkable.”
“When someone passes away, you want to focus on the good things about them,” Witte said with a catch in his throat. “With Jacob, that’s not an issue, because he truly was just a warm, wonderful, polite and cordial kid. It was always ‘yes, sir,’ and ‘no, sir’ and a good handshake with him. That’s just who he was.”
Parish was enrolled as a student in Austin Community College, and had decided to pursue a career as an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor. Although he may not have a personal, face-to-face impact on future FFA students, the scholarship fund will stretch his helping hand out to those students he hoped to teach, other FFA students.
For the last two years, Witte said, Parish had been the student advisor on the FFA Officer Team at LHS. In effect, the position was similar to that of the faculty advisors – he was an ag teacher. And his presence had an impact on his peers, who read a poem to him during his funeral service:
“Jacob came from East Texas five years ago,
He was a true country boy we all know.
He always wore that great big smile,
That couldn’t be missed for a country mile.
As he stood by the owl which was his part,
FFA was dear to his heart,
Hogs and heifers were his pride,
He walked the show ring with that special stride.
We all celebrated with joy for that Grand Champion pig,
He was so excited he even danced a jig.
The heifer scramble was fun no doubt,
Even the “Hard Luck Award” made him shout.
With his camo on his back and his hand on his gun,
Jacob would head out the door for some hunting fun.
We all knew Jacob stood over 6 foot tall,
And the warmth of his heart touched us all.
But above all the rest,
Jacob’s friendship was the best.
We love you Jacob
By Judy Witte, Kelly Witte, Phyllis Raemsch and Natalie Raemsch.”
To donate to the Jacob Ross Parish Scholarship Fund, visit FFA online at www.ffa.org/foundation/giving.htm, or send a check payable to the FFA Foundation with a note in the memo area stating “Jacob Ross Parish Scholarship Fund” to P.O. Box 86960, 6060 FFA Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46268-0960.