Bina raising funds to hang Kasey Jo (Walker) Warner’s blue jacket in the CoBank Center | TheFencePost.com

Bina raising funds to hang Kasey Jo (Walker) Warner’s blue jacket in the CoBank Center

The Blue Jacket Society aims to give back to Colorado FFA through scholarships and the recruiting and retention of Colorado agricultural educators. In recognition of a $5,000 donation, the donor's corduroy jacket, the most recognizable symbol of the organization, or a corduroy banner in its stead, will hang alongside a biography in the CoBank Center in Fort Collins, Colo.

As Foundation Director Don Thorn was describing the program to a room filled with former Colorado State FFA officers, Rachel (Fehringer) Bina, a former Colorado FFA president (1995-96) and National FFA vice president (1998-99), could think only of Kasey Jo.

"I couldn't help but think of Kasey Jo Walker, her tragic departure from us, and that she would have loved to have been among us," Bina wrote in an appeal to her fellow FFA alumni. "I thought of her dedicated service to Colorado FFA as vice president in 1998-99 and her career as a rancher and educator that proceeded."

Kasey Jo (Walker) Warner, originally from New Raymer, Colo., grew up on a ranching operation and became involved in FFA at her local chapter, and leading the chapter as president during her senior year in 1998. She went on to become the Colorado FFA State vice-president in 1998-99. In the fall of the same year, she earned her American Degree and was awarded the Star Finalist in the National Beef Proficiency at the National Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.

She and Dan Warner were married in Sterling, Colo., in 1999 and she went on to graduate from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2003 and later earned a master's of science in biology in 2006 from the university. Warner lived on the family operation near Arapahoe, Neb., and was a teacher and coach.

She died in October of 2007 at the hands of an intoxicated driver at the age of 28, leaving behind her husband and two young daughters, Gentry and Berkley. The driver, an individual with a lengthy criminal history, was sentenced in 2010 after Judge James Doyle told the defendant he "was responsible for the death of an extraordinary person." That defendant is serving a 53½ year sentence for Warner's death and other related charges.

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RAISING FUNDS

With blue jackets set to be installed at the CoBank Center this fall, Bina has reached out to former FFA state officers and FFA supporters in hopes of raising the necessary funds to add Warner's jacket to the wall.

"My goal is to raise the $5,000 donation necessary to install Kasey's jacket at the CoBank Center in Fort Collins," Bina wrote. "The next installation ceremony will take place at Colorado State University AgDay this fall so I'm hoping you will join me in getting this done in the coming months."

Thus far, Bina has raised about half of the necessary funds. The goal for funds to be raised so Warner may be included in the coming induction is Sept. 1.

In addition to Warner's jacket being displayed in a shadow box on the wall, her biography will be displayed, and she will be recognized among those remembered during the presentation of scholarships at the Colorado FFA State Convention. Donations can be made directly to the Colorado FFA Foundation with a note indicating the funds should be directed to Kasey Jo Walker's Blue Jacket Society fund, Colorado FFA Foundation, PO Box 1000, Greeley, CO 80632. ❖

— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at rgabel@thefencepost.com or (970) 392-4410.