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Overcoming tragedy

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Local 4-H'r Whitney Halfhill found the courage to keep going despite losing her horse and dog during the 4-H season. Jason Moon Photo.
* Despite recent setbacks, 4-H'r moves on

No one could blame Whitney Halfhill if she shed a few tears this week.

Halfhill, 12, has competed in the Clay County 4-H Fair for as long as she can remember.

But this year, things were quite different.

Halfhill had planned on showing her horse of six years, Cricket, in the 4-H Horse Show.

But just before the fair started this year, her mother, Marlene Halfhill, said the horse may have developed colic. The 19-year-old horse died before Whitney had a chance to show the animal.

But the unfortunate situations didn't stop there.

Whitney had shown her 4-year-old dog, Gunner, this year. And only days after the show, Gunner was hit by a vehicle on United States 40. The dog also died.

But, despite the situations, Whitney has persevered and trudged forward, continuing to show animals at the fair, relying on her faith and her friends in 4-H.

"It's been hard," Whitney said, "Having all the problems that we had with my horse and dog.

"But God has been with me through all this and that's what keeps me going."

Her mother began to tear up Monday after thinking about what her daughter has recently gone through.

"It was real hard for us to get ready for the fair," Marlene said. "But these are our people. They've been so kind and compassionate. There have been a lot of caring people around here."

Marlene said Whitney did manage to compete in the horse show after being allowed to show a horse owned by Debbie and Jim Metz. She finished with a third-place ribbon in the event.

"A month ago, she didn't think she was going to be in the horse barn," Marlene said.

"I was excited because I like all the horse people," Whitney added.

Her dog captured Reserve Champion in Obedience and Showmanship as well.

Following Gunner's passing, Clay County 4-H Extension Agent Melanie Brown provided Whitney with a framed poem.

"As a parent, when you watch a child grieve like that, that's the hardest thing to do," Marlene said.

"But it only makes you stronger. Those animals were part of the family."

Marlene added Whitney has taken the events well so far.

"That's the way she is," Marlene said of her daughter. She never gives up. She's OK. She has a good spirit.

"She's had a blast."

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What a wonderful testimony you gave Whitney!

-- Posted by localgal on Tue, Jul 15, 2008, at 9:58 PM

Our herats go out to you! You are a strong girl and are being tested. What a beautiful example you are giving others!

-- Posted by sassypants on Wed, Jul 16, 2008, at 6:08 AM

i think this little girl should really be proud of her self for being such a brave girl. she has went threw things that alot of adults have not had to encounter.. so bravo to her and her courage.

-- Posted by ksullivan555 on Wed, Jul 16, 2008, at 10:17 AM

Way to go Whitney!!! So proud of you. I know this gal and her family. She is what we need for tomorrows leadership. Keep up the good work. You have a great start.

-- Posted by country woman on Fri, Jul 18, 2008, at 2:24 AM

Yes,sorry about the loss. There have been many 4H members that have experienced similar bad times. I recall one horse dropping at the 4H fair grounds and many felt the pain of loss along with the young girl owner as well as the loss of other animals even this year. Don't recall an article about those events though. All 4H members put much time as well as money into their projects as well as being available to lend a helping hand to others without wanting the world to know. Hats off to those as well! Best of luck to all 4H members.

-- Posted by tinytim on Fri, Jul 18, 2008, at 7:57 AM

They did a feature story on a young 4 H participant. What is so wrong with that? Some people are so negative on here its a joke. Lets just be glad that The Brazil Times takes the time to cover the 4 H fair and give the kids that kind of attention. They don't have to do anything for the fair. Anyhow why would you get on a feature piece about a little girl and be negative.

-- Posted by dmh15 on Tue, Jul 22, 2008, at 5:56 AM

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