Blind to failure, Landan Schaffert excels in life | TheFencePost.com

Blind to failure, Landan Schaffert excels in life

Robyn Scherer, M.Agr. Staff Reporter

Sometimes it can be challenging to see the positive aspects in one’s life, especially when you have a disability that prevents you from seeing. However, for one Colorado man, over coming challenges is nothing new.

For Landan Schaffert, the ability to see clearly has never been something that he has known. However, that has never stopped him from achieving his dreams and finding the positive aspects of life.

Schaffert grew up on a family farm in Otis, Colo., and is a fourth generation farmer. When he was born, doctors told his parents that he would never be able to read or write, and would never amount to anything. He has congenital rod cone dystrophy, and is legally blind.

Even though this would be devastating news for most parents, Schaffert’s parents did not believe what they were told. “They gave us a lot of negative news, but I knew that we were the only ones who could change it. I have a lot of faith, and knew he would be able to achieve and accomplish,” said Peggy Pletcher, Schaffert’s mother.

She added, “Watching him go through his life has been a big blessing and I am very thankful to have him as my son. We never knew what he was going to be able to do, but he has accomplished amazing things, even though he is impaired. He is doing all the things they said he wouldn’t be able to do.”

When Schaffert was little, he let his disability give him a negative outlook on life. However, when he was in third grade, he lost one of his best friends. For him, it was an awakening.

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“When I was sitting at his funeral, I realized something. Michael didn’t have the opportunity to get up every morning, hang out with people, and go after what he wanted. I did,” he said.

Whit a new outlook on life, Schaffert began to find other ways to overcome his challenge. When he was in sixth grade, his father bought his mother a video camera. After playing with the equipment, he realized when he zoomed in with the lens, he could see things much better. He took the camera to school, and was able to see what was being written on the board.

When he reached high school, he became involved in FFA. His supervised agricultural experience was in beef entrepreneurship, and he competed for several years at the county fair with his Angus steers.

“I couldn’t see when I was showing in the show ring. I had faith that when I got to the fair, I would find someone who would help me. The ring steward would help me around. I could see just enough to see the rump of the calf in front of me, and I always did fairly well,” Schaffert said.

He also became very involved with the career development events that the FFA offers, such as creed speaking, prepared speaking, extemporaneous speaking, farm business management and the job interview.

It was in speaking, however, that Schaffert was able to find his calling. “Motivational speaking is my biggest passion. If I could do that for the rest of my life, I will be satisfied,” he said.

His mother said she remembers the time when Landan found this dream. “When Landan was a freshman, he went to Louisville for National FFA convention. I went along, and remember sitting there at the convention and seeing really awesome motivational speakers. He said, ‘I want to do that some day mom.’ When he grew up, he went for it. I think that when we have something that we are really passionate about, if we don’t do it we always wonder what would have happened if we would have done it,” Pletcher said.

Schaffert has had the opportunity to give several motivational speeches, through his involvement in FFA. He was elected as a 2009-2010 Colorado State FFA Officer as an Executive Committee Member, and in October of 2010 he was elected as the FFA National Secretary.

As a national officer, Schaffert traveled over 120,000 across the county. However, due to his visual impairment, he cannot drive, and always found someone to help him around. “I have been blessed in the past year that there was always someone there to help me. I have always been greeted with generosity, and I appreciate that about people,” he said.

In Schaffert’s speeches, he talks about overcoming challenges. When he was a state FFA officer, he was in Qdoba, and one of his teammates kept moving a wet floor sign in his way. Unable to see it, he kept bumping into it. Over his life, Schaffert has run into many things, and that is what led to the analogy that he uses in his speeches.

“There are three types of challenges that we face. Those that are like a wet floor sign are the small challenges that we continually face. Fire hydrants are the ones that take us by surprise, but you can go around. The final type is concrete pillars. They take your breath away, and they hurt the most. You have to step back and figure out what to do,” he said.

These are all literal obstacles Schaffert has had to overcome. His message, however, is inspiring to all of those who know him. “He never let the challenge of his blindness affect his ability to do anything. He took challenges head on, and he looked them straight in the eye, even though he was blind, and did the best he could with what he had. That is inspiring because it showed me no matter how much harder you have it, someone always had it harder. It is great to have a role model like that,” said Guy Kuntz, Schaffert’s lifelong best friend.

For his retiring address at the 84th National FFA Convention held this past October, Schaffert gave a speech entitled “The Way I See It.”

In this speech, he said, “Following a dream is like walking on a journey. We will never reach our destination unless we take it one step at a time. To do what we dream, we must step with faith, and we must step with diligence.”

He attributes stepping with faith to his mother. “When my mom talked to me about challenges, she said having faith is believing in what you can’t see. For example, there are many things I can’t see. I have never seen a single star, but I have faith that they are beautiful,” he said.

When he talks about stepping with diligence, he talks about learning from his father. “Dad is a farmer and an insurance broker, as well as owning a grain company. He has taught me the value of hard work in my life, and to always be diligent.”

In his national officer retiring address, Schaffert said, “Step with diligence by never giving up. When you face obstacles, persevere. When you fail, stand up, and try again. Have your dreams in mind, and work tirelessly to bring them to reality.”

This is exactly what he has done. Even though he has very limited sight, this has never stopped him from achieving excellence.

Schaffert is also a Boetcher Scholarship recipient, and a student at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo., where he is studying electrical engineering, and a minor in renewable resources. He will return there this spring.

When he finishes school, he plans on going into legislature, and working in Washington D.C. He wants to work to promote agriculture, and believes his education will help him.

“Being involved in legislature at some point is one of my biggest goals. I don’t want to be an engineer per se, but I wanted to have the background. You can get involved with policy from any route. Agriculture is now about food and energy. I already have a background in food production, and when I am done with my undergraduate degree I will be able to talk about food and energy,” Schaffert said.

He truly believes that no matter what, people can succeed. “There is no challenge too large to overcome. You must accept your challenges, and appreciate the good things in life,” he said.

Sometimes it can be challenging to see the positive aspects in one’s life, especially when you have a disability that prevents you from seeing. However, for one Colorado man, over coming challenges is nothing new.

For Landan Schaffert, the ability to see clearly has never been something that he has known. However, that has never stopped him from achieving his dreams and finding the positive aspects of life.

Schaffert grew up on a family farm in Otis, Colo., and is a fourth generation farmer. When he was born, doctors told his parents that he would never be able to read or write, and would never amount to anything. He has congenital rod cone dystrophy, and is legally blind.

Even though this would be devastating news for most parents, Schaffert’s parents did not believe what they were told. “They gave us a lot of negative news, but I knew that we were the only ones who could change it. I have a lot of faith, and knew he would be able to achieve and accomplish,” said Peggy Pletcher, Schaffert’s mother.

She added, “Watching him go through his life has been a big blessing and I am very thankful to have him as my son. We never knew what he was going to be able to do, but he has accomplished amazing things, even though he is impaired. He is doing all the things they said he wouldn’t be able to do.”

When Schaffert was little, he let his disability give him a negative outlook on life. However, when he was in third grade, he lost one of his best friends. For him, it was an awakening.

“When I was sitting at his funeral, I realized something. Michael didn’t have the opportunity to get up every morning, hang out with people, and go after what he wanted. I did,” he said.

Whit a new outlook on life, Schaffert began to find other ways to overcome his challenge. When he was in sixth grade, his father bought his mother a video camera. After playing with the equipment, he realized when he zoomed in with the lens, he could see things much better. He took the camera to school, and was able to see what was being written on the board.

When he reached high school, he became involved in FFA. His supervised agricultural experience was in beef entrepreneurship, and he competed for several years at the county fair with his Angus steers.

“I couldn’t see when I was showing in the show ring. I had faith that when I got to the fair, I would find someone who would help me. The ring steward would help me around. I could see just enough to see the rump of the calf in front of me, and I always did fairly well,” Schaffert said.

He also became very involved with the career development events that the FFA offers, such as creed speaking, prepared speaking, extemporaneous speaking, farm business management and the job interview.

It was in speaking, however, that Schaffert was able to find his calling. “Motivational speaking is my biggest passion. If I could do that for the rest of my life, I will be satisfied,” he said.

His mother said she remembers the time when Landan found this dream. “When Landan was a freshman, he went to Louisville for National FFA convention. I went along, and remember sitting there at the convention and seeing really awesome motivational speakers. He said, ‘I want to do that some day mom.’ When he grew up, he went for it. I think that when we have something that we are really passionate about, if we don’t do it we always wonder what would have happened if we would have done it,” Pletcher said.

Schaffert has had the opportunity to give several motivational speeches, through his involvement in FFA. He was elected as a 2009-2010 Colorado State FFA Officer as an Executive Committee Member, and in October of 2010 he was elected as the FFA National Secretary.

As a national officer, Schaffert traveled over 120,000 across the county. However, due to his visual impairment, he cannot drive, and always found someone to help him around. “I have been blessed in the past year that there was always someone there to help me. I have always been greeted with generosity, and I appreciate that about people,” he said.

In Schaffert’s speeches, he talks about overcoming challenges. When he was a state FFA officer, he was in Qdoba, and one of his teammates kept moving a wet floor sign in his way. Unable to see it, he kept bumping into it. Over his life, Schaffert has run into many things, and that is what led to the analogy that he uses in his speeches.

“There are three types of challenges that we face. Those that are like a wet floor sign are the small challenges that we continually face. Fire hydrants are the ones that take us by surprise, but you can go around. The final type is concrete pillars. They take your breath away, and they hurt the most. You have to step back and figure out what to do,” he said.

These are all literal obstacles Schaffert has had to overcome. His message, however, is inspiring to all of those who know him. “He never let the challenge of his blindness affect his ability to do anything. He took challenges head on, and he looked them straight in the eye, even though he was blind, and did the best he could with what he had. That is inspiring because it showed me no matter how much harder you have it, someone always had it harder. It is great to have a role model like that,” said Guy Kuntz, Schaffert’s lifelong best friend.

For his retiring address at the 84th National FFA Convention held this past October, Schaffert gave a speech entitled “The Way I See It.”

In this speech, he said, “Following a dream is like walking on a journey. We will never reach our destination unless we take it one step at a time. To do what we dream, we must step with faith, and we must step with diligence.”

He attributes stepping with faith to his mother. “When my mom talked to me about challenges, she said having faith is believing in what you can’t see. For example, there are many things I can’t see. I have never seen a single star, but I have faith that they are beautiful,” he said.

When he talks about stepping with diligence, he talks about learning from his father. “Dad is a farmer and an insurance broker, as well as owning a grain company. He has taught me the value of hard work in my life, and to always be diligent.”

In his national officer retiring address, Schaffert said, “Step with diligence by never giving up. When you face obstacles, persevere. When you fail, stand up, and try again. Have your dreams in mind, and work tirelessly to bring them to reality.”

This is exactly what he has done. Even though he has very limited sight, this has never stopped him from achieving excellence.

Schaffert is also a Boetcher Scholarship recipient, and a student at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo., where he is studying electrical engineering, and a minor in renewable resources. He will return there this spring.

When he finishes school, he plans on going into legislature, and working in Washington D.C. He wants to work to promote agriculture, and believes his education will help him.

“Being involved in legislature at some point is one of my biggest goals. I don’t want to be an engineer per se, but I wanted to have the background. You can get involved with policy from any route. Agriculture is now about food and energy. I already have a background in food production, and when I am done with my undergraduate degree I will be able to talk about food and energy,” Schaffert said.

He truly believes that no matter what, people can succeed. “There is no challenge too large to overcome. You must accept your challenges, and appreciate the good things in life,” he said.

Sometimes it can be challenging to see the positive aspects in one’s life, especially when you have a disability that prevents you from seeing. However, for one Colorado man, over coming challenges is nothing new.

For Landan Schaffert, the ability to see clearly has never been something that he has known. However, that has never stopped him from achieving his dreams and finding the positive aspects of life.

Schaffert grew up on a family farm in Otis, Colo., and is a fourth generation farmer. When he was born, doctors told his parents that he would never be able to read or write, and would never amount to anything. He has congenital rod cone dystrophy, and is legally blind.

Even though this would be devastating news for most parents, Schaffert’s parents did not believe what they were told. “They gave us a lot of negative news, but I knew that we were the only ones who could change it. I have a lot of faith, and knew he would be able to achieve and accomplish,” said Peggy Pletcher, Schaffert’s mother.

She added, “Watching him go through his life has been a big blessing and I am very thankful to have him as my son. We never knew what he was going to be able to do, but he has accomplished amazing things, even though he is impaired. He is doing all the things they said he wouldn’t be able to do.”

When Schaffert was little, he let his disability give him a negative outlook on life. However, when he was in third grade, he lost one of his best friends. For him, it was an awakening.

“When I was sitting at his funeral, I realized something. Michael didn’t have the opportunity to get up every morning, hang out with people, and go after what he wanted. I did,” he said.

Whit a new outlook on life, Schaffert began to find other ways to overcome his challenge. When he was in sixth grade, his father bought his mother a video camera. After playing with the equipment, he realized when he zoomed in with the lens, he could see things much better. He took the camera to school, and was able to see what was being written on the board.

When he reached high school, he became involved in FFA. His supervised agricultural experience was in beef entrepreneurship, and he competed for several years at the county fair with his Angus steers.

“I couldn’t see when I was showing in the show ring. I had faith that when I got to the fair, I would find someone who would help me. The ring steward would help me around. I could see just enough to see the rump of the calf in front of me, and I always did fairly well,” Schaffert said.

He also became very involved with the career development events that the FFA offers, such as creed speaking, prepared speaking, extemporaneous speaking, farm business management and the job interview.

It was in speaking, however, that Schaffert was able to find his calling. “Motivational speaking is my biggest passion. If I could do that for the rest of my life, I will be satisfied,” he said.

His mother said she remembers the time when Landan found this dream. “When Landan was a freshman, he went to Louisville for National FFA convention. I went along, and remember sitting there at the convention and seeing really awesome motivational speakers. He said, ‘I want to do that some day mom.’ When he grew up, he went for it. I think that when we have something that we are really passionate about, if we don’t do it we always wonder what would have happened if we would have done it,” Pletcher said.

Schaffert has had the opportunity to give several motivational speeches, through his involvement in FFA. He was elected as a 2009-2010 Colorado State FFA Officer as an Executive Committee Member, and in October of 2010 he was elected as the FFA National Secretary.

As a national officer, Schaffert traveled over 120,000 across the county. However, due to his visual impairment, he cannot drive, and always found someone to help him around. “I have been blessed in the past year that there was always someone there to help me. I have always been greeted with generosity, and I appreciate that about people,” he said.

In Schaffert’s speeches, he talks about overcoming challenges. When he was a state FFA officer, he was in Qdoba, and one of his teammates kept moving a wet floor sign in his way. Unable to see it, he kept bumping into it. Over his life, Schaffert has run into many things, and that is what led to the analogy that he uses in his speeches.

“There are three types of challenges that we face. Those that are like a wet floor sign are the small challenges that we continually face. Fire hydrants are the ones that take us by surprise, but you can go around. The final type is concrete pillars. They take your breath away, and they hurt the most. You have to step back and figure out what to do,” he said.

These are all literal obstacles Schaffert has had to overcome. His message, however, is inspiring to all of those who know him. “He never let the challenge of his blindness affect his ability to do anything. He took challenges head on, and he looked them straight in the eye, even though he was blind, and did the best he could with what he had. That is inspiring because it showed me no matter how much harder you have it, someone always had it harder. It is great to have a role model like that,” said Guy Kuntz, Schaffert’s lifelong best friend.

For his retiring address at the 84th National FFA Convention held this past October, Schaffert gave a speech entitled “The Way I See It.”

In this speech, he said, “Following a dream is like walking on a journey. We will never reach our destination unless we take it one step at a time. To do what we dream, we must step with faith, and we must step with diligence.”

He attributes stepping with faith to his mother. “When my mom talked to me about challenges, she said having faith is believing in what you can’t see. For example, there are many things I can’t see. I have never seen a single star, but I have faith that they are beautiful,” he said.

When he talks about stepping with diligence, he talks about learning from his father. “Dad is a farmer and an insurance broker, as well as owning a grain company. He has taught me the value of hard work in my life, and to always be diligent.”

In his national officer retiring address, Schaffert said, “Step with diligence by never giving up. When you face obstacles, persevere. When you fail, stand up, and try again. Have your dreams in mind, and work tirelessly to bring them to reality.”

This is exactly what he has done. Even though he has very limited sight, this has never stopped him from achieving excellence.

Schaffert is also a Boetcher Scholarship recipient, and a student at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo., where he is studying electrical engineering, and a minor in renewable resources. He will return there this spring.

When he finishes school, he plans on going into legislature, and working in Washington D.C. He wants to work to promote agriculture, and believes his education will help him.

“Being involved in legislature at some point is one of my biggest goals. I don’t want to be an engineer per se, but I wanted to have the background. You can get involved with policy from any route. Agriculture is now about food and energy. I already have a background in food production, and when I am done with my undergraduate degree I will be able to talk about food and energy,” Schaffert said.

He truly believes that no matter what, people can succeed. “There is no challenge too large to overcome. You must accept your challenges, and appreciate the good things in life,” he said.

Sometimes it can be challenging to see the positive aspects in one’s life, especially when you have a disability that prevents you from seeing. However, for one Colorado man, over coming challenges is nothing new.

For Landan Schaffert, the ability to see clearly has never been something that he has known. However, that has never stopped him from achieving his dreams and finding the positive aspects of life.

Schaffert grew up on a family farm in Otis, Colo., and is a fourth generation farmer. When he was born, doctors told his parents that he would never be able to read or write, and would never amount to anything. He has congenital rod cone dystrophy, and is legally blind.

Even though this would be devastating news for most parents, Schaffert’s parents did not believe what they were told. “They gave us a lot of negative news, but I knew that we were the only ones who could change it. I have a lot of faith, and knew he would be able to achieve and accomplish,” said Peggy Pletcher, Schaffert’s mother.

She added, “Watching him go through his life has been a big blessing and I am very thankful to have him as my son. We never knew what he was going to be able to do, but he has accomplished amazing things, even though he is impaired. He is doing all the things they said he wouldn’t be able to do.”

When Schaffert was little, he let his disability give him a negative outlook on life. However, when he was in third grade, he lost one of his best friends. For him, it was an awakening.

“When I was sitting at his funeral, I realized something. Michael didn’t have the opportunity to get up every morning, hang out with people, and go after what he wanted. I did,” he said.

Whit a new outlook on life, Schaffert began to find other ways to overcome his challenge. When he was in sixth grade, his father bought his mother a video camera. After playing with the equipment, he realized when he zoomed in with the lens, he could see things much better. He took the camera to school, and was able to see what was being written on the board.

When he reached high school, he became involved in FFA. His supervised agricultural experience was in beef entrepreneurship, and he competed for several years at the county fair with his Angus steers.

“I couldn’t see when I was showing in the show ring. I had faith that when I got to the fair, I would find someone who would help me. The ring steward would help me around. I could see just enough to see the rump of the calf in front of me, and I always did fairly well,” Schaffert said.

He also became very involved with the career development events that the FFA offers, such as creed speaking, prepared speaking, extemporaneous speaking, farm business management and the job interview.

It was in speaking, however, that Schaffert was able to find his calling. “Motivational speaking is my biggest passion. If I could do that for the rest of my life, I will be satisfied,” he said.

His mother said she remembers the time when Landan found this dream. “When Landan was a freshman, he went to Louisville for National FFA convention. I went along, and remember sitting there at the convention and seeing really awesome motivational speakers. He said, ‘I want to do that some day mom.’ When he grew up, he went for it. I think that when we have something that we are really passionate about, if we don’t do it we always wonder what would have happened if we would have done it,” Pletcher said.

Schaffert has had the opportunity to give several motivational speeches, through his involvement in FFA. He was elected as a 2009-2010 Colorado State FFA Officer as an Executive Committee Member, and in October of 2010 he was elected as the FFA National Secretary.

As a national officer, Schaffert traveled over 120,000 across the county. However, due to his visual impairment, he cannot drive, and always found someone to help him around. “I have been blessed in the past year that there was always someone there to help me. I have always been greeted with generosity, and I appreciate that about people,” he said.

In Schaffert’s speeches, he talks about overcoming challenges. When he was a state FFA officer, he was in Qdoba, and one of his teammates kept moving a wet floor sign in his way. Unable to see it, he kept bumping into it. Over his life, Schaffert has run into many things, and that is what led to the analogy that he uses in his speeches.

“There are three types of challenges that we face. Those that are like a wet floor sign are the small challenges that we continually face. Fire hydrants are the ones that take us by surprise, but you can go around. The final type is concrete pillars. They take your breath away, and they hurt the most. You have to step back and figure out what to do,” he said.

These are all literal obstacles Schaffert has had to overcome. His message, however, is inspiring to all of those who know him. “He never let the challenge of his blindness affect his ability to do anything. He took challenges head on, and he looked them straight in the eye, even though he was blind, and did the best he could with what he had. That is inspiring because it showed me no matter how much harder you have it, someone always had it harder. It is great to have a role model like that,” said Guy Kuntz, Schaffert’s lifelong best friend.

For his retiring address at the 84th National FFA Convention held this past October, Schaffert gave a speech entitled “The Way I See It.”

In this speech, he said, “Following a dream is like walking on a journey. We will never reach our destination unless we take it one step at a time. To do what we dream, we must step with faith, and we must step with diligence.”

He attributes stepping with faith to his mother. “When my mom talked to me about challenges, she said having faith is believing in what you can’t see. For example, there are many things I can’t see. I have never seen a single star, but I have faith that they are beautiful,” he said.

When he talks about stepping with diligence, he talks about learning from his father. “Dad is a farmer and an insurance broker, as well as owning a grain company. He has taught me the value of hard work in my life, and to always be diligent.”

In his national officer retiring address, Schaffert said, “Step with diligence by never giving up. When you face obstacles, persevere. When you fail, stand up, and try again. Have your dreams in mind, and work tirelessly to bring them to reality.”

This is exactly what he has done. Even though he has very limited sight, this has never stopped him from achieving excellence.

Schaffert is also a Boetcher Scholarship recipient, and a student at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo., where he is studying electrical engineering, and a minor in renewable resources. He will return there this spring.

When he finishes school, he plans on going into legislature, and working in Washington D.C. He wants to work to promote agriculture, and believes his education will help him.

“Being involved in legislature at some point is one of my biggest goals. I don’t want to be an engineer per se, but I wanted to have the background. You can get involved with policy from any route. Agriculture is now about food and energy. I already have a background in food production, and when I am done with my undergraduate degree I will be able to talk about food and energy,” Schaffert said.

He truly believes that no matter what, people can succeed. “There is no challenge too large to overcome. You must accept your challenges, and appreciate the good things in life,” he said.