Nancy Loeffler, SALE’s chairman of the board, can relate to Edmondson’s love of agriculture. Though not raised in an agricultural environment, she grew to know its work ethic early through the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo, where her parents volunteered.” SALE and the scholarship program wouldn’t exist without our 6,000 volunteers,” she said.
More than 10,300 Texas youth have benefited from a SALE scholarship, translating into $210 million worth of awards, she added. “It’s fun to watch these students and see them flower in life through their agricultural exposure.”
Working with Texas A&M as an educational partner has been a pleasure, said B. J. Hendler ’00, an assistant vice president with SALE who comes from a family of maroon.
“It’s not often in life that you get to marry up two of the things you really enjoy: Texas A&M and SALE,” he said. “Our Aggie scholarship recipients are incredible. They’ve taken active roles on campus and have won prestigious awards. Their values and principles were instilled in them at an early age, long before we even knew who they were. We’re simply encouraging their growth and keeping them on that path by supporting them in their studies.”
To that end, SALE is always looking for ways to expand student experiences. In the past couple of years, the scholarship fund has sponsored Aggie internships with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy as part of the Texas A&M Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Program. SALE also awards a High Impact Program one-semester scholarship in which first-generation students study abroad in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. To date, 24 Aggies have been recipients.
“I wish I somehow knew how many kids would not have pursued an education without our scholarship,” Hendler mused. “There’s a bunch of them. This program has changed their path for life.”
Putting on a rodeo is no small feat, he added, but there’s a way to rejuvenate volunteers’ spirits when they’re feeling work-weary. “I tell the volunteers who are tired and down and worn out, maybe a little sick from the dust in the barn, just go watch a scholarship presentation. Watch a mom or dad cry with happiness. You’ll find yourself reenergized instantly.”