GREENFIELD — It took about a month to recondition the tractor, but it only took a few moments before it was in a new owner’s hands on Friday evening.
Ray Helms of McCordsville won the 1953 John Deere 40S tractor during the Ora Callahan Family 4-H Scholarship Tractor Auction, which raised funds to support local 4-H projects. The Callahan family is continuing the long legacy in local 4-H originally started by Ora and Shirley Callahan in 1963.
The auction, held at the 4-H Show Arena before the annual livestock auction to close the fair, raised $2,900 for the scholarship fund.“I wanted to help out 4-H, and I’m a John Deere guy, and I just wanted to add it to my collection,” Helms said.
He will add the new piece to his small collection of tractors and said that purchase will likely be something his grandchildren inherit one day.
The tractor was donated by Lorraine Ewing, Ora Callahan’s daughter; and her husband, Bill Ewing. He took apart the tractor, cleaned it, painted it and added new wiring, tires and decals.
By the time it rolled into the Show Arena on Friday evening, the 1953 tractor looked brand-new.
“This tractor is going to a fantastic cause. It’s going to help a lot of people down the road,” auctioneer Jeff Boone said.
The Ora V. Callahan 4-H Awards were established in 1963 to honor the county’s top 4-H’ers every year. Lorraine said her parents wanted to provide incentives for 4-H’ers to stay with the program.
Lorraine said her father believed more kids would stay in 4-H if there was an award to reach for. He handed out the awards personally for five decades and never skipped a chance to celebrate a younger 4-H’er’s achievements.
Ora Callahan was a strong supporter of the local 4-H programs, the FFA and vocational agriculture projects. Callahan, a teacher at Mt. Comfort High School and longtime member of county fair board, died in 2013. His family immediately decided to work to keep his memory alive through a scholarship program.
If the tractor looked familiar at Friday’s auction, it was because it had previously made appearances throughout the fair, including at last weekend’s 4-H Fair Parade. It was also displayed in the Pioneer Building at the fairgrounds until the Friday auction.
The $2,900 donation will go a long way toward furthering the Callahan legacy while helping out local 4-H’ers.
“Whatever happened, happened. We’re excited,” Ewing said.
Ora and Shirley Callahan’s son Lyndon Callahan watched the auction and said his dad would have been proud.
“He would have loved this,” Callahan said. “He was all about 4-H and sponsoring youth. He’d have been a little humbled that it was all about him tonight.”
Memorial donations can still be made to the Ora Callahan 4-H Awards Fund at the Hancock County Community Foundation, 312 E. Main St., Greenfield IN 46140, or online at www.giveHCgrowHC.org.