This month\u2019s Mercer Savings Bank Giving Mission recipient is\u00a0Marathon IX: Tri Star Eternal Scholarships.This is the sixth year that Rod and Barb Carpenter have sought to raise money through their marathon fund, all of which has benefitted local families, charities, and other non-profits. The initiative began in 2016 in conjunction with marathons that Rod participated in and has developed over the years.An Evolving Mission\u201cIt\u2019s evolved over the course of time,\u201d says Rod. \u201cWe did the first benefit for a local family, but then it turned to non-profits. This year we decided to do one for students of\u00a0Tri Star Career Compact\u00a0who want to continue their education.\u201dTri Star Career Compact\u00a0offers a curriculum of programs\u00a0for junior and senior students at participating schools who have an interest in a technical career path. Over 60% of program graduates go on to college. Many also earn college credit through Tri Star\u2019s curriculum, which can be applied to their continuing education.All Vocations Welcome\u201cThere are a lot of scholarships targeted to certain vocations,\u201d says Rod, \u201cbut this one (the Tri Star Eternal Scholarship) is wide open to any of them. If you\u2019re going to be a phlebotomist and only go to a school for six months, you can apply for this scholarship. If you\u2019re going to be a welder going down to Troy, you can apply for this scholarship. Any child out there can apply for these scholarships.\u201dOver the past nine years, Rod and Barb have raised $236,689.24 through the fund \u2013 all of it benefitting the local community. Their last benefit alone \u2013 for\u00a0The Choosing Life Pregnancy Center\u00a0\u2013 raised $65,796.09.Ambitious GoalsThis year, they hope to reach their biggest goal yet: $100,000 to serve as the basis of their Endowed Scholarship Fund for Tri Star students. A fund of that size allows them to give out scholarships of over $3,500 each year while the base fund will continue to grow.\u201cWe started out using the (marathon) running to draw people,\u201d says Rod, \u201cbut people don\u2019t give because I\u2019m running. They\u2019re giving because we\u2019ve picked really neat non-profits over the course of time. It\u2019s not always about the money. It also generates awareness of these non-profits. The awareness can go on for quite a while.\u201dA Generous CommunityWhat Rod enjoys most about organizing these fundraising events each year is how many \u201cwonderful and generous\u201d people he\u2019s met over the years.\u201cThis whole area of Mercer\/Auglaize County is just full of generous people with a willingness to get involved. These folks could be giving their money elsewhere. They could be spending it on themselves. They could be spending it on machinery or giving it to another entity, but they chose this benefit. Barb and I see ourselves as instruments of the Lord. We just want to just thank everybody that has been part of all of these missions. It\u2019s just been amazing. It\u2019s very humbling.\u201dRod continues, \u201cBecause this is an endowed scholarship, the money that Mercer Savings Bank donated through this mission, that money is going to continue to provide scholarships for these students a hundred years from now. It\u2019s kind of like the gift that keeps on giving.\u201dHow to Support the Tri Star Eternal Scholarship FundThere are three ways to support the Tri Star Eternal Scholarship Fund. Checks can be made out to the Mercer County Civic Foundation and sent to Rod or Barb Carpenter at 2315 Eaglebrooke Circle (yes we moved), Celina, OH 45822. In the MEMO line write: \u201cTri Star Eternal.\u201d Those with a PayPal account\u00a0can make a donation here. Venmo users\u00a0can donate\u00a0here. 100% of all contributions go to the scholarship fund.