Heart as big as a Heifer

Results from the 2014 Dunn County 4-H Achievement Days Livestock Show, held on August 6th at the Killdeer Rodeo Grounds, only told a very small part of the story about an outstanding young man.

Colby Dukart

Colby Dukart, Dunn County 4-H member, decide to dedicate his premium in honor of his Aunt JohnnieRae Geving and donated the proceeds to Locks of Love in her memory.

By Pat Merriman

For The Dunn Co. Herald

Killdeer High School Sophomore Colby Dukart (age 15), grandson of proud grandpa County Commissioner Daryl Dukart, racked up the following accolades: 1st Place in Junior Yearling Heifer; Reserve Champion in Ewe & Offspring and Senior Sheep Showmanship; 2nd place in Breeding Ewe Lamb and Market Lambs (heavyweight); and Blue Ribbon in Cow Calf Pair, and Senior Beef Showmanship.

But, Colby saved the best for last when he donated all of his winnings from the livestock show & premiere sale held after his prize heifer Another Mirada strutted her stuff for the judges. Friends and family of the Dukarts remember Daryl’s daughter (and Colby’s paternal aunt) the charming Johnnie Rae Geving who lost her battle with breast cancer just before Valentines Day, 2014, at the far too young age of 39.

Always smiling and a delight to be around, Johnnie was a beloved member of not only the Dukart clan but the Killdeer High School cheerleading squad (their coach) and a popular local fixture. Enter her nephew Colby. He could not forget his aunt’s brave struggle and the aftermath of the chemotherapy which took not only her health but her luxurious chestnut hair.

So, for the teenager, it only seemed appropriate that he perform a memorial for Aunt Johnnie and, figure out a way to help out Locks of Love the charity that provides wigs for victims of cancer therapy. In short order, he contacted the 4-H, through the NDSU Extension Office, and got permission to forward the proceeds to the charity. But…the best was still yet to come. During the auction, local businesses had a surprise for Colby.

They ran up his bid to over $6,000 with XTO Energy finally cutting the winning check. And, if that was the end of the story, it would have still been good enough to warm the heart but…there was more. Every Sophomore boy only has one thing on his mind and, of course, Colby has his eye on a “few” local girls but, his main concern right now is purchasing his first vehicle.

And, XTO and the Killdeer merchants decided to help a brother out! As Colby left the arena with his prize heifer and his donation to Locks of Love, the businesses stood, cheered and called the young man back. Another $3,600 was donated and, Colby was told to keep it for himself.

He plans to buy a Ford and, will keep saving up. And, again, if this was the end of the story, that would be enough to warm this reporter’s personal heart. But, the kid had one more personal goal that is near and dear to my heart. Sheriff Coker and Chief Dreathbraathen please take note– Colby told me “he wants to stay in Dunn County and be a cop!” His proud parents, Cody and Jen said it best, “We couldn’t be prouder.”

I suggested he contact Coker ASAP and discuss the Sheriff’s new cadet program, so, Clay get with this kid…he already has what it takes. In speaking with this outstanding young man, his modesty was disarming when he referred to Johnnie, “Live strong and fight on.” A testament to his favorite aunt, Colby and his family also were grateful to XTO for their generosity, “This goes to show oil companies want to support our community and our children.”

I couldn’t agree more and, to Colby two of my favorite quotes from my personal hero General George S. Patton–for Aunt Johnnie, “It is…wrong to mourn those who died. Rather we should thank God they lived”; and, to you, young man, “I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.” My sympathies to you and your family on your loss and congratulations on your personal recovery and selfless act. Job well done and, Dunn County, you should be proud!

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