SMITHVILLE — Area businessman and Smithville High School alumnus Mack Porter donated a representation of an 80-plus friendship to Smithville High School’s FFA Chapter and the school’s agricultural tractor power class.
The 1964 Massey Ferguson Super 90 tractor, painted bright red, is now in the hands of teacher Johnny Viebrock.
“In many ways, this is going to be a teaching tool and a lasting memorial,” Viebrock explained.
The tractor once belong to Franklin Halferty, Porter’s best friend. The two grew up in Paradise. Halferty also served on the Smithville School Board for nine years and was considered the “driving force” behind the initial purchase of the acreage that became the current Smithville district main campus, which includes the current high school.
Porter made the presentation to FFA students and Viebrock Friday, Jan. 22.
“I graduated in 1945 from Smithville High School,” Porter said. “I have always contributed to the school. I have a wonderful affection for the high school and the district. I was taught leadership here, serving as president of the student council. I also got to be part of FFA for one year.”
Porter made the donation in hopes students find it a resource and an opportunity.
“So few kids these days have driven a tractor,” he said.
Viebrock said his students have already begun tinkering with the tractor, working on the starter and the fuel system.
“Initially, it didn’t start so we have gotten it running,” he said.
The tractor will be used to by the Smithville FFA chapter for parades and community events.
Halferty’s son, Dan, attended the gifting.
“It’s a real honor to have it here,” he said. “I am excited to see it have a second life here. It is generous of Mr. Porter to donate it.”
Senior Riley Tyrrell did research on the tractor. Viebrock said the FFA has a tractor restoration contest, which is not just about the restoration, but the story.Junior Connor Cline said the tractor represents a special part of the community as it was used on a working farm northeast of Smithville. Senior Cole Kaster said he looks forward to seeing the tractor in parades.
“It’s going to be a great learning tool and more hands-on for us all,” said junior Miranda Moore.