DARKE COUNTY — Ben Overholser lives on through Foundation and Scholarships.
When Ben Overholser passed away in May of last year after a seven-month battle with cancer, his wife, Gail, and son, Josh, wanted to make sure that his giving spirit could still live on, so shortly after his death, they established the Ben Overholser Memorial Foundation with the goal of supporting causes near and dear to Ben’s heart.
“Once we realized he didn’t have much time left, Dad and I had a good conversation where I told him I wanted to make sure his giving legacy could continue to live on and make a positive impact in the world, even after he was gone,” Josh said.
Josh continues to say his dad loved supporting the youth involved in agriculture.
“He had received honorary chapter degrees from the Ansonia, Arcanum, Greenville, and Mississinawa Valley FFA Chapters, and through SISCO,” Josh said. “He and my mom were frequently platinum level buyers at the livestock sale at the fair, so with all that in mind, we settled on a foundation focused on providing scholarships to Darke County youth involved in ag.”
Donations from the community quickly poured in.
“We can’t thank the community enough for their support,” said Ben’s widow, Gail. “To think that we’ve been able to give out over $26,000 in scholarships in just our first year is incredible. We couldn’t do it without all of our amazing supporters.”
The foundation started by offering two $5,000 scholarships to Jr. Fair exhibitors at the 2021 Great Darke County Fair. Taylor Stachler and Laura Wuebker were the winners out of over 30 applicants.
The foundation then offered $2,000 scholarships to students from each FFA Chapter in Darke County. Winners were announced at their chapter banquets held in the spring of 2022.
Winners included Ansonia: Carrie Rhoades ($2,000); Arcanum: Madelyn Fearon ($2,000), Landon Haney ($1,000), Luke Brinksneader ($1,000); Bradford: Alexis Barhorst ($2,000); Greenville: Madison Werner ($2,000); Mississinawa Valley: Alison Byram ($2,000), Kennedy Stachler ($2,000); and Versailles: Caleb Kaiser ($2,000). There were no applications from Franklin Monroe or Tri-Village.
“We had a great first year, but we’re not done yet,” Gail said. “As long as we have the support to do so, we plan to keep this going with scholarships both at the fair and for our local FFA chapters.”
Next up for the foundation will be the presentation of two more $5,000 scholarships this August at the Great Darke County Fair. Darke County incoming seniors who participate in the Jr. Fair are eligible, and applications can be downloaded from the scholarship tab on darkecountyjrfair.com. Applications are due Aug. 1.
If you’d like to support the foundation, you can mail your tax deductible donation to the Ben Overholser Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 475, Greenville, OH 45331. You can also keep up with what they’re doing by liking Ben Overholser Memorial Foundation on Facebook.
The Foundation is made up of board members Josh Overholser, Gail Overholser, Sam Custer, Regan Bowman, and Russ Badgett.