Written by Gretchen Garrison
Little did Liz Feuerborn realize back in 2008 that when she gave permission to her daughter, Nancy, to start her first job, that she was starting a family tradition.
At the time, Nancy was 14. One of her friends had told her about detasseling, and she decided that she wanted to give it a try. Since then, every Feuerborn child has started detasseling with NATS once they were old enough. When Liz started adding up her family’s participation, she was startled to discover that their children have completed a total of 46 years of detasseling seasons, and they are still going strong.
In case you were wondering, Liz and her husband, Frank, actually have eleven children ranging in age from six to twenty-seven. With seven adopted children, their family photograph provides a glimpse into heaven with their beautiful blend of cultures and personalities. Many positive qualities are interwoven into this family, but one characteristic in particular has been beneficial to their participation in detasseling: perseverance.
What may be the most surprising part is that Liz has not had to motivate her kids at all. The early wake-up calls and challenging conditions did not deter them. She was a bit surprised at first that they would cheerfully go out every morning. Even though they would get tired, they would know that the job is short-term. This fact would help them to keep going. The younger ones are just excited to go because they’ve heard about it from the older ones for years.
Liz is certain that her kids’ detasseling experiences have positively impacted her kids. “As the years go by, I hear stories from my kids and I realize even more how much working for NATS has helped shape them at such a critical time in their young lives. I appreciate that Dawn Buell and her company gives them an opportunity to grow, mature, and thrive, expanding upon the values that their dad and I have tried to instill in them. How many businesses do that? Recently, I just pondered how essential NATS has been to the kind of young men and women my older children have become, and I am so grateful for the opportunity that NATS has given them.”
The money the Feuerborn children have earned through the years has primarily gone to help pay for schooling opportunities, and some of her children have used their earnings to help with car purchases. When teenagers are experiencing a bit of financial freedom, that income benefits the whole family.
Since she is starting her 13th season, Liz does have a bit of input to give to those who are experiencing their first detasseling season. “First of all, the NATS t-shirts are terrific! Seriously, if I look up on any given day I will see at least one NATS t-shirt on one of my children! More importantly, the character building and learning to work hard has been invaluable. I cannot even begin to say how much this means to my children. They have learned to work hard in challenging situations (heat, mud, etc.) so it definitely helped them secure good jobs later on and gave them the determination to conquer things later in life that might have not seemed possible otherwise.”
NATS is grateful to the entire Feuerborn family for the years they have spent as part of our family. We will undoubtedly continue to hear about their many successes in the years to come!