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Thank you notes to Ronnie

By January 8, 2021Beet January 2021

When Ronnie Budge took over the reins of JCMGA as President in January, 2020, she could not have foreseen what a topsy-turvy time we would experience this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our signature in-person events, such as the Spring Garden Fair and Graduation, had to be cancelled. Just as we were beginning to get to know the new Master Gardener Class of 2020, we had to call a halt to in-person Practicum sessions, the newly minted Garden Buds Program floundered and in-person classes were diverted to online lessons. Reopening dates for the Extension Grounds fluctuated and the fate of the Demonstration Gardens was uncertain. Confusion about what JCMGA would be able to do this year reigned and we all began to miss having in-person contact with our fellow Master Gardeners.

This is the unfortunate state of affairs that Ronnie had to deal with as President most of this year. We are very, very fortunate that Ronnie was up to the task of leading us through this trying time. Her leadership style features a calm, steady personality, great judgment, and an understanding of how to work through the issues. As Ronnie told me, there is something for the President to do most days, even if it is just answering a question. Most of the time, the issues she has had to deal with have been much more complicated. Whatever was on her plate as President, she handled it with intelligence and grace. Ronnie quickly mastered the Zoom platform for Board meetings and kept us moving forward. Looking back, it is amazing how much we accomplished this year. Ronnie deserves a lot of the credit for that.
Ronnie, I can’t tell you how glad I was when you approached me to volunteer to run for President Elect in 2019, which would then make you President in 2020. You were the perfect candidate! I have so enjoyed working closely with you the last two years on the Board and getting to know you as a friend. I also learned a great deal from you when we co-taught Practicum a few years back. Thank you for all you have done for JCMGA over the years.

– Susan Koenig


As incoming president, I would like to thank you, Ronnie, for being an outstanding mentor and role model.  Your patience, diligence, thoroughness and sense of diplomacy have been inspiring and instructive.  It has been a joy to work with you and I hope we will have many more opportunities to spend time together in the future.

With much respect and love,

– Lynn Kunstman


Thank you, Ronnie, for taking on the hidden challenge of the pandemic President this year.  You have been our strong leader, helping us keep positive thoughts about our association and what we can accomplish together.  I appreciate you and all you do.

– Pam Hillers


Thank you, Ronnie, for your expert, thoughtful, and respectful leadership.  I know you worked hard behind the scenes to make sure the needs of members were met and that the Board had all the information needed to make good decisions. It goes without saying that this has been a difficult year for us all, but especially for those in leadership positions. You were superb!

– Kathy Apple


Ronnie, thank you for your patience, thoughtful listening, and graceful leadership. Your attitude and example of accepting and embracing change kept us moving forward during a crazy year.

Big hug,

– Rebecca Jurta


Ronnie, thank you for your amazing leadership during this tumultuous year. Your calming presence and straightforward guidance were a welcome relief to a year turned upside down. You have made a difference and I deeply appreciate your dedication.

– Jim Buck


Ronnie, is it really that time already to pay our respects to yet another wonderful leader of the JCMGA Board? When Ronnie was given the gavel, I am sure she expected (as we all did) that she was going to have a clear path leading to resounding success. Unfortunately, there was a kink in the works with the “Coronavirus” that sat everyone on their heels. Ronnie accomplished her goal by being a strong leader with grace and humor, plus a good deal of patience. I appreciated her making sure all voices were heard and every idea was brought to the table. I will always remember her mantra that seemed to be part of every meeting, “You have to unmute yourself.” Thank you, Ronnie, for being a fantastic leader.

– Sandy Hansen


Ronnie can’t possibly have foreseen what was ahead for us in 2020 when she agreed to be the JCMGA President this year. Yet she consistently steered us on a steady course forward, consistently guiding us around each problem put in our way. I am so impressed by Ronnie’s laser-like mind that notices every detail, that questions, and that almost always has a solution to offer when faced with a messy issue. And who knows Robert’s Rules of Order better than Ronnie?! Nevertheless, I found her to be a collegial presence who listens to and is quick to accept the suggestions of others. Thank you, Ronnie, for the strength and steadiness of your leadership in 2020.

– Patrice Kaska


Our organization was so lucky and privileged to have Ronnie Budge as our esteemed President this year. She had no idea what a can of worms 2020 would end up being, yet she handled everything with calm and professionalism.  She is so instrumental in this organization, not only as president, but as a Practicum Mentor with an exceptional ability to teach the Master Gardener science of gardening. I am so honored to call her a fellow Master Gardener and friend.

– Sandy Hammond


Ronnie, thank you so much for maintaining a positive attitude and open mind during this challenging year. I am very grateful for the optimistic leadership you bring to the JCMGA; it is a pleasure to work with you!

– Erika Szonntag