February 5, 2007
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(Electronic Photos Available Upon Request) DENVER, Colo.
- February 5, 2007 - Outstanding U.S. sheep industry members were honored for their contributions to the industry at an award luncheon held Jan. 26, 2007, at the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI)/National Lamb Feeders Association Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
ASI honored two members of the U.S. wool industry with the first-ever American Wool Excellence Award. This award was created to honor those who have tirelessly served and have made a significant impact on the U.S. wool industry. Those receiving this award were Leroy Keese of Brady, Texas, and Wylie McDonald of San Angelo, Texas, two retired wool buyers.
Keese is credited with buying more than 200 million pounds of wool and mohair during his 35-year career with Forte Dupee Sawyer Co.
After graduating from Texas A&M, he moved to Philadelphia to begin working for the U.S. Testing Co. During that time, he was instrumental in starting wool testing for carpets for the Northeast carpet mills. In 1963, he began working for Forte, bidding on wool at warehouses and wool pool sales across the country and oversaw the wool scouring operation in Brady, Texas.
McDonald retired in 2001 after 43 years in the wool industry. After working in his family's wool warehouse, he went to work for Burlington Industries Wool Co. and worked his way to become vice president.
His duties at Burlington included buying wool from warehouses in the Southwest, plus international travel to South American and South Africa. Burlington was the first group in the wool business to core test all its wools and see them by micron diameter, determining that top quality was dependent upon the micron of wool.
In 1981, McDonald founded Anodyne, Inc., a company designed to buy wools for the mills that remained after the extensive decline in the domestic textile industry.
Paul Frischknecht, ASI's president, said while announcing the awards to Keese and McDonald, "As we celebrate the industry's legacy and make plans to ensure a prosperous future, it is fitting that we honor these men who helped build our foundation by promoting our product during their lifetime careers.
Other award recipients include: Guy Flora of Cardington, Ohio, received the McClure Silver Ram Aware; Wayne Purcell, Ph.D., of Riner, Va., was awarded the Camptender Award; M. Quinn Jacobson of Dubois, Idaho, received the Flock Guardian Award; Tony Purcell of Dallas, Texas, received the Shepherd's Voice Award for Broadcast Media; the Shepherd's Voice for Print Media was awarded to Chuck Stocks of Albuquerque, N.M.; and the Environmental Stewardship Award was given to Michael Bronkema of Holland, Mich.
ASI is a national organization supported by 44 state sheep associations, benefiting the interests of nearly 68,000 sheep producers.