This month’s Mercer Savings Bank Giving Mission recipient is Marathon 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
“It’s evolved over the course of time,” says Rod. “We 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 Tri Star Career Compact who want to continue their education.”
Tri Star Career Compact offers a curriculum of programs for 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’s curriculum, which can be applied to their continuing education.
All Vocations Welcome
“There are a lot of scholarships targeted to certain vocations,” says Rod, “but this one (the Tri Star Eternal Scholarship) is wide open to any of them. If you’re going to be a phlebotomist and only go to a school for six months, you can apply for this scholarship. If you’re going to be a welder going down to Troy, you can apply for this scholarship. Any child out there can apply for these scholarships.”
Over the past nine years, Rod and Barb have raised $236,689.24 through the fund – all of it benefitting the local community. Their last benefit alone – for The Choosing Life Pregnancy Center – raised $65,796.09.
This 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.
“We started out using the (marathon) running to draw people,” says Rod, “but people don’t give because I’m running. They’re giving because we’ve picked really neat non-profits over the course of time. It’s not always about the money. It also generates awareness of these non-profits. The awareness can go on for quite a while.”
A Generous Community
What Rod enjoys most about organizing these fundraising events each year is how many “wonderful and generous” people he’s met over the years.
“This 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’s just been amazing. It’s very humbling.”
Rod continues, “Because 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’s kind of like the gift that keeps on giving.”
How to Support the Tri Star Eternal Scholarship Fund
There 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: “Tri Star Eternal.” Those with a PayPal account can make a donation here. Venmo users can donate here. 100% of all contributions go to the scholarship fund.