Written by Cory Blair - Chief People Officer
I haven’t written a blog in a long time. For whatever reason, I just haven’t had an idea that has just jumped out of my head onto paper. Until this weekend. This blog has one simple message. True leaders are people that do great things for others.
So, this is the story of my 8-year-old son Ryder and his passion for farming. Yes, farming. Those that know me, know I am the furthest thing from a handyman or have any idea about farming. I am more of the sports nut and my oldest son Peyton fits that mould too. Ryder must get this from my wife Jessica’s side for sure. I can remember when he was 2 years old playing at the Hewalo farm in Montmartre Saskatchewan. He loved the idea of being a worker. Getting his hands dirty, helping fix stuff with his great Grandpa Murray in the shop. He loves going with his papa Duane Kaczmar in the semi, hauling grain to the elevator. He now is old enough to change oil in the semi and grease the 5th wheel. It is his deal. His thing to do. His love.
Well he absolutely loves New Holland farm machinery too. There are family ties to New Holland. Grandpa Hewalo owned a dealership in Montmartre, uncle Kim currently works at Markusson New Holland in White City. Ryder’s teacher Mrs. Markusson husband works there too…. So much New Holland around him. He loves it.
Last year closer to December, Ryder’s class got to write a letter to anyone in the world. Each student could pick who they want to write too. A letter asking whomever a series of questions. Most kids wrote Sidney Crosby or Darian Durant. Maybe a famous actress or movie star. Ryder chose to write to Delage Farms, a family farm right here in Saskatchewan.
Delage farms is a large family owned grain farm just north of Indian Head, Saskatchewan. They farm over 20,000 acres. That’s a lot of farm land!!!! Most to all their equipment is New Holland. We always pass by their farm yard on the way to our family cottage at Katepwa Lake. There are bins that seem to go on for a mile and especially around August there are New Holland combines ready to go to work. Not just one or two either. They have more than seven combines (Ryder knows the exact amount)! Ryder asks us to drive by the farm yard and we do, looking at the cool machinery. Lucky for us we have watched them harvest a couple of fields just off the highway. Ryder of course gets right into it explaining to us what type of header is on the combine etc…stuff way over my head!!!
Ryder wrote a letter to them. He introduced himself and asked a bunch of questions. He put it in the mail and then he waited. Before you knew it, there was some mail for Ryder. It was a letter from Marc Delage. He runs the farm with his family. He answered all of Ryder’s questions. The letter was on their company letterhead so of course Ryder knew it was legit!! Marc also sent Ryder a couple tee shirts and pictures of their farm. He was smiling from ear to ear. Marc also said in the letter that during seeding this year, Ryder could come out and ride in the tractor. He could do this at harvest time too if he wanted!!! Ryder circled that on his calendar. We messaged Marc a couple weeks ago and this past weekend Ryder went out and hung out with Marc and his brother in-law Jordan.
Ryder got to work on the farm. He helped burn some stubble, he seeded canola (even his own 30 acres) and he got to go in the semi with Jordan filling up fertilizer for the seeder. He got served a field lunch too! His dream came true. It may not seem like a big deal as lots of kids grow up on a farm but for Ryder it was a huge deal!!
We are just so proud of him. He did it on his own. He knows what he loves already. That makes us so happy. His smile is so infectious. It is just AWESOME!! A couple of times I just was so elated for him a got a little choked up. This is special to him and it takes special people to help out a kid live out his dream.
What I learned through this is that people are awesome. True leadership happens when someone does something great for someone else, not to boost their own ego, not to fill their own bucket but to fill someone else’s. Marc and Jordan did that for Ryder. They could have said they were too busy. They could have said kids cannot come in the tractor or semi, especially a kid they did not really know. They were all in from the beginning.
They practiced servant leadership. They are leaders. They did something so positive for him. They practiced stewardship, empathy, foresight and growth. They did this by just being themselves, good-hearted people that get it. I learned that a lot of us, especially people that live here in our province and Canada, do have those attributes of leadership. We need to explore stories like this and companies need to celebrate it more often. It is in our DNA.
Ryder will remember that day for ever and now has built a friendship that could last a long time. Marc called me and said Ryder is welcome back at any time. They will be spraying the crops so he can jump in with one of the guys. I told him we appreciate the effort they put forward to make Ryder happy. Marc said “hey no problem!! Anytime I can share my passion with someone I am happy.”
Thanks Marc and Jordan from Delage Farms. You guys are true leaders and just awesome people. You made a little boy a farmer for life.
Sincerely thanks guys,
Cory and Jessica Blair
#peoplepeople #servantleadership #delagefarms #farmerforlife