For many Americans, patriotism and honor toward America is expressed by waving our dear ‘Old Glory' or singing The Star-Spangled Banner. But, for one 12-year-old Mississippi Junior Beefmaster Breeder, his patriotism and honor toward America and its Veterans also includes founding the Mississippi Youth Patriotism Campaign.

Austin Roebuck, from French Camp, Miss., has been visiting the State Veteran's Nursing Homes since he was six years old. He would visit the Homes after school and on some weekends, as well as attending as many specials events as he could.

Roebuck said he visited the Homes with his mom where he has developed many friendships with his heroes.

“My mom served as the Director of Nursing for the Jackson Veteran's Home,” said Roebuck. “She then moved to the Kosciusko Home as the Administrator.”

The Veterans' activities include such games as bingo and horse races. Roebuck said they have lots of events, especially on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. He also said they have taken Veterans to church and to special activities such as wild game suppers, horse and cattle shows and an occasional fishing trip.

The Mississippi Youth Patriotism Campaign began with Roebuck's success in the 2009 World Pinto Walk-Trot Charity Class which was held in Tulsa, Okla. The class consisted of 27 riders, and Roebuck earned first place riding Teddy's Ranger Bar – ‘Ranger'. Upon winning the class, he told the announcer that his charity was the Mississippi Veterans.

“My trainer told my mom it would be a difficult class consisting of adults and even some trainers,” Roebuck said. “My mom and dad discussed it and decided, since I was so compelled to ride in this class, we had nothing to lose but the entry fee. My plan from the beginning was to ride for the Veterans of the Mississippi State Veteran's Home of Kosciusko.”

Roebuck delivered the $1350 check on horseback to his Heroes at the front door of the Veteran's Home. The Pinto Horse Association of America titled him as the ‘Pinto Patriot'. The Veterans were clapping and cheering as Ranger and Austin greeted them on the sidewalk.

The Mississippi Youth Patriotism Campaign's mission is to encourage America's Youth to express their love for our country and its Veterans through patriotic projects and special events in their schools and communities, Roebuck stated.

“The campaign focuses on the importance of the foundation of our country,” Roebuck said. “It is a way to remind youth that our Veterans sacrificed their lives so that we could have the freedoms we have today. Because of the Mississippi Youth Patriotism Campaign, the Veterans will have more opportunities to share their wisdom with today's youth, while the young people create opportunities to let the Veterans know what they did for them was not done in vain.”

Traci Duncan, Assistant Administrator of the Mississippi State Veterans Home said they are so proud of the path that has been paved by the young cowboy, Austin Roebuck.

“At twelve years of age, he is so aware of our heroes that he is really making the effort to make a difference for them while encouraging other youth to express their patriotism,” Duncan said.

Roebuck says he looks up to a certain Veteran, Ms. Jordan.

“Ms. Jordan served in the Women's Army Corps in the Korean War,” Roebuck said. “She worked at Walter Reed Hospital taking care of patients. She is a very positive person and does not focus on her own health or circumstances. She always has a smile and wants to know what is going on with me and my animals. She is my hero.”

In addition to the time Roebuck has spent at the Homes, he has also spoken at the Vicksburg Tea Party Patriots, “United We Stand: Taking Back America” Rally; the Meridian Tea Party's “Get the Vote” Rally; the “Veterans Day Salute” at the Kosciusko Veterans Home; and has even worked with the History Channel of New York as a speaker for the Home's annual “Take a Veteran to School Day” event. It means a lot to Austin to help introduce the Veterans to students at the different schools. At each event, he passes out special buttons for the students to wear that bear the patriotism campaign's motto, ‘Honoring Our Past, Preparing for Our Future.” He hopes that this will encourage students to respond to the Veterans' gift of freedom by working harder to prepare for a good future. Roebuck stated that how we treat America today is how we will lead her tomorrow.

In 2010, Mississippi's Lieutenant Governor, Phil Bryant, acknowledged the Mississippi Youth Patriotism Campaign with a special Proclamation given at the State Capital to Austin and several other participating youth.

There is also a booklet in the works, ‘The Basics of Patriotism,” which Austin started writing in late Fall of 2010. The book is about Patriotism from a twelve year old's point of view. It is being illustrated by another Kosciusko youth, Daulton Lindsey. Austin plans to put the free booklet into the hands of every student in Mississippi as a part of the Mississippi Youth Patriotism Campaign. There already is a publisher interested in its mass production.

In January, the Lt. Governor presented Austin with a certificate recognizing his accomplishments and aspirations for Patriotism in his State and his country.

When he is not busy with the Mississippi Youth Patriotism Campaign, Roebuck raises and shows Beefmaster cattle.

Roebuck said his favorite characteristic of Beefmaster cattle is their disposition.

“I enjoy everything about them [Beefmaster cattle], from the time they are born and throughout all their growing phases,” Roebuck said. “I love to watch them jump and play in the pasture. They grow up into these enormous, beautiful animals. I am really proud of them.”

Roebuck shows at approximately ten shows per year, showing Roxie, Bella and Molly. The 2010 JBBA National Convention & Heifer Show held in Waco, Texas, was his first, although he attended the 2009 convention as a spectator. He is very excited about breaking out some new heifers for this year's competition and has set the National Show as his goal. In an effort to improve his herd, the young rancher sold his best horse to help provide the funding for his new cattle. In fact, Austin excitedly spent his Thanksgiving break traveling to Texas to bring home his new prized possessions.

Regarding the National Convention, Roebuck states that he enjoys meeting new people and soaking in the atmosphere.

“Everyone is so nice, and the cows are awesome,” Roebuck said. “It was exciting to just be there.”

Roebuck's hard work and commitment to doing a quality job paid off when he earned the 2010 Reserve Champion Intermediate Showman at the convention in Waco.

“I was just happy to be there,” Roebuck said. “I never thought I would receive such an award at my very first national show.”

Roebuck stated he sees himself raising Beefmasters throughout high school and even further on to help with his future.

“There are so many opportunities with scholarships,” Roebuck said. “This would help me to further my education since I want to become a Veterinarian.”

Roebuck also would like to become a JBBA officer or board member in the future. He said his friend, Michael Buckley, who is a director, enjoys his position, and he [Roebuck] really thinks a lot of Buckley.

Roebuck is also a 6th grade honor roll student who enjoys football, riding horses and hunting. He is also a member of the Bonfire Syndicate, member of the East Texas/Louisiana Beefmaster's Marketing Group, Mississippi JBBA, Mississippi Junior Cattleman's Association, Attala County 4-H, Mississippi Paint Horse Association, East Mississippi Horseshow Association, Pinto Horse Association of America, and a member of the Bethsaida Baptist Church in French Camp, Miss.

“I love our Veterans, am proud of our Country and need some help getting the word out to other youth,” Roebuck said. “Our Veterans deserve to know how much we appreciate and respect them for what they did for America. We can not thank them enough but through the Mississippi Youth Patriotism Campaign, we are going to try.”

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