There are people with bad luck, people with good luck, and then there is the Sullivan family.
Kimberly Sullivan and her father-in-law, Michael Sullivan of Wallace, received special recognition Friday night during the Hayes Center vs Wallace boys basketball game as each presented a check for $2,500 to their chosen local non-profit.
The opportunity to make the donations came courtesy of both being randomly chosen as winners of a nationwide philanthropic program sponsored by the Monsanto Fund.
Kimberly Sullivan, chosen as the winner in Lincoln County, presented her oversized presentation check to the Wallace Fire Auxiliary while Michael Sullivan, the winner in Hayes County, presented his $2,500 donation to the Hayes Center School District, where, as it turns out, daughter-in-law Kimberly also works as a preschool and activities teacher.
Both donations were provided on the Sullivans’ behalf by the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program, a nationwide farmer appreciation program created by the Monsanto Fund.
The pair was chosen by what would seem well beyond all normal chance from a pool of over 47,000 farmers nationwide and 79 farmers in Lincoln and Hayes counties, but the Sullivans’ uncanny story doesn’t end there.
They were encouraged to participate in the Monsanto Fund program by Kimberly’s husband, Shawn Sullivan, who was himself chosen as a Grow Communities winner during the 2010 pilot running of the program.
“It was so unlikely that we would be selected for this opportunity to be able to give back,” said Kimberly.
“Michael, Shawn and I are very grateful to be winners. These funds will help the volunteers at the rescue unit with their needs for supplies and equipment. This extra money gives us a lot of opportunities that we wouldn’t have had before.”
“It goes to show you have to enter to win,” commented Michael. “So you need to go online and sign up. I’ve had people come and ask me, ‘How did you win this’—and I tell them, ‘all you have to do is go and sign up.’”
On hand to explain the Monsanto program and present the checks was Dekalb Territory Sales Manager Mike Sughroue, who was was the first to recognize luck of the Sullivan clan and suggested holding a presentation during the annual contest between the Hayes Center and Wallace schools.
“The most important point of Grow Communities is recognizing what farmers already do for small communities and maybe helping them do a little bit more,” Sughroue said.
“The Monsanto Fund wants to recognize the pride and importance of rural communities and one of the best places to see that pride is at a school event like a basketball game.”
Each benefiting organization is personally chosen by the winning farmer in each eligible county.
Hayes Center Superintendent Ron Howard and Wallace Fire Auxiliary President Lori Tobiasson were on hand Friday night to accept the Sullivans’ donations. Michael’s $2,500 will be used to purchase an enclosed trailer for the Hayes Center School for transporting equipment.
Kimberly’s donation will be used to support the Wallace Fire Department.
“We are a new organization and over time we would like to start to get involved more in the community,” Tobiasson said.
“One goal is to do some kid-centered projects, like in October having an event for kids to come in costume and maybe do a haunted house. Fire prevention week is also in October so we could bring some fire prevention education into that as well.”
The America’s Farmers Grow Communities program will begin signing up farmers again later this year.
Any person involved in farming 250 or more acres of corn, soybeans or cotton may sign up in any eligible county where their home or crops are located.
For further details about the program or to see a list of 2010 winners visit www.growcommunities.com