Texas 4-H families asked to support
feature film opening Feb. 17
By Paul Schattenberg
Texas A&M University System
COLLEGE STATION – 4-H families are encouraged to support Deep in the Heart – a full-length feature film about the remarkable life of Richard “Dick” Wallrath, the top individual financial contributor to Texas 4-H and Texas FFA scholarship programs, said a Texas 4-H administrator.
Wallrath’s overall contributions to 4-H and FFA, including scholarship contributions through his educational foundation, currently exceed $16 million.
“We sincerely request that 4-H families see this film about Dick Wallrath’s life for two reasons,” said Dr. Chris Boleman, director of the 4-H and youth development program of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. “First, we feel this story of overcoming personal challenges, discovering what’s truly important in life and second chances will resonate with many families. Second, because of Mr. Wallrath’s continued generosity, a portion of all ticket sales will go to both Texas 4-H and Texas FFA.”
The money donated from ticket sales will go to further strengthen much-needed scholarship programs, Boleman said.
“Mr. Wallrath also has provided tremendous financial assistance to 4-H and FFA members through his participation in livestock show premium auctions, including buying show steers at junior auctions in major shows throughout Texas,” he said. “In addition, he established the Richard Wallrath Educational Foundation, which to date has funded almost $8 million in scholarships to high school students who’ve enrolled in Texas universities.”
According to documentation, during Wallrath’s 13-year involvement with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, he has purchased 130 steers, including three reserve champion and three grand champions, one of which he bought for $601,000 – a world record. He also has purchased six grand champions at the Star of Texas show in Austin, and two grand champions, one reserve champion and 82 breed champions at the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo. Wallrath’s combined purchases at these shows totals more than $5 million. In addition, he recently bought the grand champion steer at the 2012 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo for $230,000, which was the most ever paid for a champion steer in the history of that event.
From 2006 to the present, the Richard Wallrath Educational Foundation has awarded a total of 780 $10,000 scholarships to 4-H and FFA members, with more than 500 students who have received these scholarships currently attending Texas universities.
Deep in the Heart opens Feb. 17 at theaters throughout Texas. The 113-minute feature film stars Jon Gries (Napoleon Dynamite; Real Genius), Elaine Hendrix (The Parent Trap), DB Sweeney (Eight Men Out; Memphis Belle; Fire In The Sky) and Val Kilmer (Top Gun; Tombstone; Batman Forever) and was directed by Christopher Cain, who directed Young Guns, Pure Country and Pure Country 2.
“This film tracks Mr. Wallrath’s life story from losing everything to rediscovering his faith and finding redemption with the support of his family,” said Jim Reeves, executive director of the Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation. “After struggling with alcoholism and the loss of a child, Wallrath once again found his faith and was given a second chance, which he made the most of by building a successful business with his sons. He has generously shared the financial fruits of that business with 4-H and FFA members, who he calls the ‘future leaders’ of our country.”
Reeves said the success of the film’s opening weekend will have a significant impact on plans for its nationwide release.
More information on Deep in the Heart can be found at: http://texas4hfoundation.org/deepintheheart. For information on Texas theater locations showing this film, go to http://texas4hfoundation.org/deepintheheart/locations/.
“While Dick Wallrath’s story is a Texas and an American success story, it is also a human success story that speaks to the four H’s of our program – heart, head, hands and health – as well as to the importance of treating others with fairness and respect,” Boleman said. “4-H families and others will be inspired by this movie and by the man who has lived by the concept that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
To view a 2:11 film trailer and movie poster, go to: http://agrilife.org/today/2012/02/08/deep-in-the-heart/