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Rotary names fundraiser after John Austin

Published: Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 6:13 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 6:23 p.m. CDT
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(BCR photo/Donna Barker)
Princeton Rotary Club members Jim Smith (left) and Jeff Martin (right) accept donations for the John Austin Memorial Scholarship Pool from Austin's son, Mark Austin (second right) and grandson Andy Austin (second left). John Austin had been a long-time member and past president of the Princeton Rotary Club before his death in October 2009. The scholarship pool was started 15 years ago by John Austin and Smith.
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John Austin

PRINCETON — The Princeton Rotary Club has announced that during the past 14 years the club has given 53 scholarships of $1,000 each to graduating seniors from Princeton High School.

Rotarian Jim Smith said this scholarship program is all been possible because of the late John Austin, who died Oct. 7, 2009.

“John came up with the idea to have our club run a NFL pool of its own after he and I played in one his brother ran in Colombia, Mo. It was also John’s idea to use the proceeds for scholarships,” Smith said.

Looking back on the history of the scholarship fund, Smith said John and he began their own pool 15 years ago.

“I can’t remember the number of players that first year, but we felt confident they enjoyed it from the number of players that asked if we were going to run it on an annual basis,” Smith said. “John asked if I would keep track of all the players and their picks. It was easy for the first few years. I now have 10 other people who get picks and then send them to me. Without them, we could not continue. Our pool has grown because of our club members and players recruiting friends and relatives. Now, 15 years later, we’re going strong.”

Smith said he thinks the reason Austin’s pool has been so successful is because it doesn’t cost much, is challenging and easy to play, the proceeds benefit graduating seniors, and the Internet makes it possible for people from many different states and even U.S. territories to play.

“It’s long overdue, but our club wants to give John the credit he deserves for this highly successful fundraiser,” Smith said. “We are renaming our losers pool The John Austin Memorial Scholarship Pool. I know John would be very proud of the number of scholarships his pool has provided and will continue to provide and with the number of players participating.”

Anyone interested in participating in the pool can contact any Rotarian, Smith said.“But you better hurry, the NFL season is just around the corner.”

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