For John McGraw, working at Castongia Tractor combines two of the things he loves: working with his hands on machinery and the place where he grew up. The dealership, in Rensselaer, Ind., is just 15 minutes from his hometown of Brook.
He started working at the dealership in February, and they will be sponsoring him as he heads to the John Deere Tech Program at Vincennes University, about three hours away. The two-year course will certify him in all things John Deere, he says, from lawnmowers to combines to engines and hydraulics.
Since he’s started at the dealership, he’s been working on lawn mowers and small equipment alongside the other mechanics. Plus, he’s shadowed the head mechanics working on larger tractors. “I get to float and learn about each job,” John says. And, it seems as if he’s found a second home there. “Everyone at the dealership is really nice and friendly. They always help me out when I need it—they’re just great people to work with,” he adds.
He received a scholarship for his studies through the Equipment Dealers Foundation (EDF) and says, “I cannot be more grateful for this scholarship. It truly means a lot to me.” He’s also excited about what school will bring: new experience away from home, as well as new friends.
Achieving His Goals
Over the next two years, he’ll study and continue to work during breaks at Castongia Tractor until he graduates and can work there full time. It will allow him to reach his goals. His first is being able to stay in his hometown: “It’s a small farming community with one gas station and one restaurant. What I love is that everybody helps each other out if they need it. I’m friends with everyone and great place to live.” His second goal is how he envisions spending his days. “I think this is a good day’s hard work. You feel good at end of day. Plus, I’d rather be working with my hands—on a farm working on a tractor and being outside.” he adds.
If you talk to John for a bit, you find that the love of his community and the farms that populate it are just part of who he is. As he was growing up, he worked alongside his father on a farm “riding with him on the tractor and just being a part of it,” he says. He’s also spent the last 10 years as a member of 4H, and has been showing hogs. Just this year he’s won two awards for breed champion, and hopes to be competitive as he heads to the Indiana State Fair before school begins.
About the Scholarship
The EDF was established in 1988 to provide scholarship funding to help meet the industry’s needs for trained individuals. EDF also provides temporary assistance for dealerships and its employees affected by natural disasters. Learn more about EDF here.