Good people are hard to come by, but if you own a pig in Kern County there’s a good chance you’ve met one of the best people in our community.
Her name is Debbie Zittel.
Some people make the world special just by being in it.
In the swine barn at the Kern County Fair, Debbie is that person.
“I find so much peace and happiness in here with these kids and these animals,” said Debbie Zittel.
For roughly 40 years, Debbie has smiled and hugged just about every person who’s entered this barn.
“I just have a compassion for it. I worked in the school system for many years and then raised pigs for a while and both of those things pulled together are the best part of my world,” Debbie said.
The kids in the swine bar are a part of her family.
“They mean the world to me, all these people and these kids in these barns no matter what age. It’s wonderful to see them come back to see if I’m still here and yep, they’re gonna find me here for a while,” Debbie said.
She cares about each and every one of us.
“They are all very special. The young ones just keep me fired up to come back time and time again. It’s so wonderful to see the older ones as they go from 4H to FFA programs and their leadership, their integrity and they just to go out in the world as really upstanding people,” Debbie said.
We know just how special it is to have someone like her in our corner.
“You know she’s one of the nicest people I’ve probably ever met in my entire life. She’s the person that will literally give you the shirt off her back if she had to. She is there whenever you need her, she’s a phone call away,” said Alexis Jones, one of Debbie’s “Pig Kids.”
“She’s family. She means everything to me. She has helped me become the person I am today. Made me responsible. Encourgaed my love for my animals and she’s just family to me,” said Ireland Comstock, another one of Debbie’s “Pig Kids.”
“She’s always there to lend a helping hand and she’s always there to ask how we’re doing or ask if I need anything. These Barns would definitely not be the same without her,” said Sidney Woessner, another one of Debbie’s “Pig Kids.”
“I think she’s like a lightbulb. When she comes in she lights up the barn and she just affects everyone and gives everyone the biggest smile. She has the warmest heart. She loves the kids, she loves the pigs, she just loves his whole entire atmosphere,” Jones said.
A true volunteer whose heart is in it for all the right reasons.
“This has been a great part of my life and I feel very fortunate to still be in the barns after a lot of years and to still be able to watch kids grow and become wonderful adults,” Debbie said.
Debbie believes 4H and FFA at first glance may appear to be all about livestock, but in reality the programs are about so much more than that.
It’s about raising kids, not livestock.