I met a wonderful person the other day. His name is Ira Dickinson, and he is a true gentleman. A cowboy to the core, Ira is all boots and spurs, with a warm personality and a heart of gold. The best part about Ira--he is only 9 years old.
Fifty miles from the closest town, the Dickinson family lives and works on their family-owned cattle operation in the Southwest corner of Wyoming. Fifty miles from anywhere, the Dickinsons raise cattle, build a family and count their blessings. Marc and Gerda and children, Kate, Ira and Ian Dickinson are a close-knit family, built on strong values that are long lost from today’s busy society.
The children are home-schooled on their family’s ranch, working outside between class lessons to earn their own calves to show in 4-H. The children take part in every aspect of cattle production—branding, weaning, sorting, shipping, daily chores and fixing fence. The family’s cattle business has been around since the late 1800’s, and today there are still three generations, working side-by-side on the ranch.
What's special about this ranching family is their true generosity. Every year, the children donate their steer premiums to a worthy cause. Oldest daughter, Kate, donates to the pediatric unit of a hospital where her youngest brother was treated for a serious illness.
In Ira's first year of showing cattle, Ira had a steer named "Casey" after his uncle and fellow cattleman who passed away from Melanoma this past Christmas. And, in a generous gift to the beef industry and our nation's troops, Ira donated his first $500 from his steer to the All-American Beef Battalion.
“Ira has always had a great admiration and respect for our armed forces,” says his mother, Gerda. “When we received a letter from our Superior Livestock representative Kelly Kunzler about the All-American Beef Battalion (AABB), Ira knew he had found a cause to donate his earnings to. As producers, the AABB is a great organization that helps out soldiers and their families while showcasing our American beef products. It’s truly a great cause.”
Ira presented the check to AABB member and Superior Livestock representative, Kelly Kunzler, on Oct. 24, 2008, when they shipped their calves.
“I chose the Beef Battalion to honor my great-grandpa who was a World War II Veteran,” says a mature and well-mannered Ira Dickinson, only a third grader. “A friend of our family, Chance, died in Iraq, and I thought that maybe some of Chance’s buddies would be able to enjoy a steak feed when they returned from the war.”
I was truly touched when talking with Ira and his family, and it's not often you come across such giving and wonderful people as the Dickinson family. May we all follow suit and find the spirit of giving and generosity in this holiday season.