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Ash recognized for lifetime achievement

By Staff | Jul 23, 2014

Jim Ash holds the Layle D. Lawrence Honorary Mountaineer Lifetime Achievement Award he received recently at the West Virginia State FFA Convention.

The Mountaineer Collegiate FFA recently recognized Jim Ash of Alma with the Layle D. Lawrence Honorary Mountaineer Lifetime Achievement Award at the West Virginia State FFA Convention held at Cedar Lakes near Ripley, W.Va.

Ash completed his Bachelors of Science degree in Agriculture at West Virginia University, served a two-year stint with the U.S. Army, and worked briefly as a crew foreman at Republic Steel before beginning his teaching career in 1958 at Tyler County High School. He completed his Masters of Science degree in Agriculture Education at WVU in 1963.

He retired in 1989 after a teaching career that can best be characterized with two words: commitment and professionalism.

He worked tirelessly to create high quality instructional activities for his students, including traveling tens of thousands of miles on the local, regional, state, and national levels to afford his students with premier career development opportunities through agricultural education and FFA. He developed young and adult farmer classes and worked closely with other agricultural agencies such as the fair board and Tyler County Extension Service to provide support to local farmers.

Ash has always been active in his professional education organizations, including lifetime memberships in the National Vo-Ag Teachers’ Association and the American Vocational Association. He has served in numerous leadership capacities, such as President of the WV Vo-Ag Teachers’ Association, President of the WV Vocational Association, and many terms in leadership positions on the Vo-Ag Program and Policy Committee and State FFA Advisory Committee, just to name a few.

As a new teacher, James Ash was featured on the national magazine, Vocational Education, describing the vision of the future of agricultural education in West Virginia, and specifically in Tyler County.

He has traveled the Mid-Atlantic region as a member of the visiting committee for the WVU College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Consumer Science. Ash has not, however, limited his community involvement to professional pursuits. He has served on the WV Envirothon Committee, State Partnership Planning Committee, Tyler County Fair Board, TCHS Alumni Association, Tyler County Republican Executive Committee, Friends of the College (West Virginia Northern Community College), CAP Committee for Alpharma Chemical, and TC Education Association. He has participated for many years in the Tyler County, Little Kanawha, and State Ham, Bacon, and Egg Show and Sale, serving as a facilitator and frequently as a judge.

Ash has received numerous awards and distinctions. He was inducted into the WV Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame; received the Honorary Chapter, State, and American Farmer Degrees; WV FFA’s Distinguished Service Award; the National FFA’s VIP Citation; Outstanding Senior Citizen of Tyler County; and the Carroll Greene State Supervisor of the Year award.

Ash is truly one of those “gifts that keeps on giving” to agricultural education and the FFA.

He has served in a leadership capacity with the WV FFA Foundation that spans four decades. His personal investment of time, talent, and resources has helped result in the foundation achieving its original investment goal of over $562,000, which is used to provide scholarships and awards for FFA members. Ash and his wife, Thelma, have personally given nearly $30,000 to the foundation.

In retirement, Ash keeps busy with his farm enterprises, serves as a Conservation District Supervisor, is active with his local church and seniors organization, and continues to go the extra mile for the “blue and gold” as vice president for the WV FFA Foundation.