Yoakum County grower-owner Randy Forbus is a man of true grit. A veteran producer and a Vietnam veteran, his life’s story is one of good times and tough times. To know Forbus is to know his humble, charismatic spirit.
The son of a farmer who served in WWII during the Battle of the Bulge, Forbus did not wait for the draft to call his name during the 1960s. Instead, he voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Navy and ultimately served two tours in Vietnam between 1966 and 1969.
“I remember the first tour when my Dad was told by a neighbor I wouldn’t be home in time to strip cotton for the fall,” Forbus said.
Filled with many memories of Vietnam, Forbus has stories to share. Always humble, he reflects on his time aboard an aircraft carrier off the coast of Vietnam with top security clearance. He breezes over spending more than 45 days in Balboa Naval Hospital due to hernia surgery and ultimate complications right before shipping out, and rarely discusses much about himself without pridefully discussing those who served with him.
“The influence of the military prepared me for things that I by myself could not have been able to do,” he said. “Agriculture has always been the love of my life, but the military taught me responsibility even more, and to never, never quit.”
And he never has. Despite returning from Vietnam during the worst of protesting, remembering the unwelcome treatment while in uniform – seven ribbons on his chest and freshly back on U.S. soil – Forbus still forgives.
“I can remember what people looked like, and exactly what I was called,” he said. “At the time I remember thinking, ‘Who is the enemy?’ But after a long time, I realized those young men probably grew up to be good people. I can’t continue to be angry.”
As Forbus reflects many times over, “Those are the times there are only one set of footprints in the sand. Jesus isn’t walking beside you, he’s carrying you. He’s carried me many a time.”
Forbus is strong in his convictions, and not afraid of emotion. In fact, he adamantly believes an unemotional man is a sign of weakness.
“I’m really a pretty simple person,” he said. “Rule one is to believe in God. Rule two is to marry a good woman, and rule three is to be a good person.”
His good woman is Rebecca, wife of 49 years. Together, they’ve shared a life of both ups and downs. Like all men of true grit, Forbus finds quips of humor in all things good or bad.
“I couldn’t do anything without her,” Forbus said. “For instance, I’m not good with technology. Heck, I still use a flip-phone. So I’m the one that just says, ‘Google it,’ and Rebecca’s on everything.”
Thankful to the military with whom he served, Forbus is just as proud of the land he plows.
“Make no mistake, agriculture just as much taught me never quit,” he said. “When the going gets rough, you’ve got to suck yourself down in the saddle and grab the horn.”
A self-proclaimed modest man and always grateful to others in his service to country and his career as a producer, Forbus exudes wisdom far beyond his own knowledge.
“If I have wisdom to offer, I guess that would be a good thing,” he said. “Most important to me is for people to know how fortunate I am to have good neighbors, and we are all so blessed to be free in the USA to learn and to grow.”
It is with emotion we thank you for your lifetime of providing and protecting with true grit. You are a steadfast example of The Co-op Advantage®️.