Farm Show honors veterans; Across America for Wounded Heroes founder speaks

C. Ivan Stoltzfus, a retired farmer from Honey Brook, traveled across country on Johnabilt, a 1948 Model A John Deere retrofitted tractor, raising funds and awareness for Across America for Wounded Heroes.
C. Ivan Stoltzfus, a retired farmer from Honey Brook, traveled across country on Johnabilt, a 1948 Model A John Deere retrofitted tractor, raising funds and awareness for Across America for Wounded Heroes. Submitted photo
Ivan Stoltzfus, Honey Brook, will speak at the PA Farm Show about his journey across country on a tractor for Across America for Wounded Heroes.
Ivan Stoltzfus, Honey Brook, will speak at the PA Farm Show about his journey across country on a tractor for Across America for Wounded Heroes. Submitted photo

The 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show will honor veterans on Jan. 11.

Honey Brook retired farmer and founder of Across America for Wounded Heroes, C. Ivan Stoltzfus, will be the featured speaker after the opening ceremony.

On Jan. 11 on the Expo Hall’s Lancaster Farming Stage at 9 a.m., the day begins with patriotic music, a ceremonial color guard and greetings from PA Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding; Major General Carrelli, the PA Adjutant General; Major General (Ret.) Eric Weller, DMVA’s deputy adjutant general for Veterans Affairs; and Central Pennsylvania Foodbank Executive Director Joe Arthur. Greg Stegall, a veteran who manages PA’s MilitaryShare (a mobile military distribution food pantry throughout Central PA) will address the crowd.

“It is Veterans, Military & Their Families Day. Farmers are the 2 percent of our nation that feeds us. Veterans are the 2 percent that protects us. We will honor those who feed, those who serve, and those who do both. It’s always a good day to recognize those who dedicate their lives for our freedom,” posted on www.farmshow.pa.gov.

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Stoltzfus will give a presentation at 11 a.m. about his journey across the country on Johnabilt, a 1948 Model A John Deere retrofitted tractor, raising funds and awareness for Across America for Wounded Heroes. He traveled through 31 states and logged 8,300 miles from the Atlantic to the Pacific at 15 miles per hour. During his presentation, Stoltzfus will take you along for the ride and reveal the first showing of his photos of his second trip for Across America for Wounded Heroes. For more information, visit helpamericanheroes.com.

Stoltzfus, an auctioneer and real estate broker and a retired farmer, was followed by the media and adored by veterans and their families. He held court at state fairs, auctions, stockyards, festivals, national parks, campsites, small towns, and corporate sites. His putting along at 15 miles an hour will make you laugh, touch your heart, and put you on the edge of your seat. Some followed him cross country on his blog, some chased him down, driving miles to give donations to the fundraising cause for wounded veterans and some to fill his belly with homemade food. This is a tale you want to hear at the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show.

“Freedom isn’t free. These veterans have paid a price, many of their buddies the ultimate price. My mission is to raise money for our wounded heroes, especially those suffering with PTSD,” Stoltzfus said. “We need to let them know we really care. I have talked with them for hours, cried with them, prayed with them.”

Stoltzfus wants to create awareness

“No, freedom isn’t free,” he said. “It’s neighbor helping neighbor… It’s the grace of God that makes these trips possible.”

Come out for the day and find out the new and exciting ways Stoltzfus is reaching out through fundraising auctions with America’s Auctioneer Myers Jackson, and working with Operation 2nd Chance. Meet the man, always the boy on the farm, with that dream in his heart that a tractor could cross the USA. His dream to reality come true.

Other events on Veterans, Military & Their Families Day on Jan. 11 at the PA Farm Show, according to www.farmshow.pa.gov, include the DMVA Mobile Veterans Outreach Van staffed with accredited veteran service officers providing information and assistance to veterans and family members about programs, benefits and services available through the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

Also there will be the annual Army vs. Navy Cook-Off at 1 p.m. on the PA Preferred Culinary Connection stage.

At 2 p.m. on the Culinary Connection Stage, awards will be presented to PA’s newest inductees in the PA Preferred Homegrown by Heroes program. The official farmer veteran branding program of America. Products bearing this logo signal to consumers that they were produced by military veterans. The program is available to farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and value-added producers of all branches and eras of military service.

The Farm Show, held at the Expo Center, 2300 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg, runs Jan. 6 to 13.