Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Austin's Legacy

Last April, we officially formed the Austin's Legacy Scholarship Fund, in memory of our son.  In a year's time, we have launched the scholarship, fully funded it for three years through fundraisers, and selected our first recipient.  Looking back, it still doesn't seem real. 

It was as if this Scholarship Fund was just meant to be - or had an extra dose of love and help from above, because everything involving this project has always fallen right into place.  Both Tim and I were thinking and planning the same things, even before we talked to each other about it.  Being married as long as we have, we often know each other's thoughts but this just seemed impossible how closely our plans matched.

The name, "Austin's Legacy" came to us shortly after losing him.  It seemed to encompass everything he was in just two words. 

This design came to me soon after and became the logo for his memorial scholarship fund.  From the bigger-than-life heart, to the helping hands, to the scripture that so perfectly describes our special boy, "Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for other believers in your speech, behavior, love, faithfulness, and purity."  This logo shows everything Austin stood for and the mission of his scholarship fund.

I remember signing papers last April for the scholarship program and how uncertain a time it was for us.  Both of our mothers were ill and at the time we didn't have answers as to what was wrong with either of them.  Thankfully, Mom's was nothing serious.  Sadly, we would lose June just months later to an aggressive lung cancer, but not before she got to see the results from our first fundraiser.  Even from her hospital bed, she was offering help, advice and money to support it. 

Now, to see us full circle at the end of the year, having selected the recipient for our first scholarship, I know that both she and Austin would be beyond proud.  The student we selected was an easy choice, based on several points in her application, essay and letters of recommendation.  Many things in her application stood out but perhaps the most was that she's logged over 1,000 volunteer hours the past few years. It seems very fitting that for those hours she'll be awarded $1000 for her education!

Kami Compton is a senior at Ohio County High School and has been approved for enrollment at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.  As one of the first in her family to seek a higher education, she shared in her essay a passion for making a better life for herself.  Though volunteering for several agencies, the group she donated the largest portion of her time has been to Dismas Charities.  To quote her, "These women encourage me every day...they've shown me it's not where I have been in my life but where I'm going."  Through their inspiration she has dreams of becoming a parole officer and making positive changes in this world.

I don't know that we could have selected a better choice for our first award!  There isn't a doubt in my mind that God's hand has been on this project from the very beginning.  Or, that Austin hasn't been involved somehow every step of the way.  In fact, we will present the check to Kami on Monday, during the school's Awards Assembly.  Can you guess what date it will be?  ...May 23rd.  Yet another sign from Austin that he is and will be there with us as we make a difference in another youth's life.


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