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New Scholarship Fund Honors Local Farmer, Helps Healthcare Students

Mike Stuckey, Andy Harper, Dr. Adams, Doug Augenstein, Tina Lust, Mike Augenstein, Dr. McCall
November 01, 2023

Richard “Dick” Augenstein was born in an area hospital and he wasn’t admitted again for 78 years until a protracted illness struck. Augenstein was hospitalized and needed intensive care followed by months of rehabilitation.

“You don’t realize how much these health care workers become a part of the family. We appreciated all of them being there every step of the way. When he died, all of them cried with us,” said Mike Augenstein, one of Richard’s three children. “We also saw the urgent need for more health care workers, especially after COVID.”

“They really do walk that journey with you,” said Mike Stuckey, director of the Marion Technical College Foundation.

Richard "Dick" Augenstein

The Augenstein family created the Augenstein Family Scholarship Fund in Richard’s memory to support physical therapist assistant (PTA) students.

“This is in gratitude for the help Dad got from his health care team,” said Tina Lust, his daughter.

“Our family appreciates everyone who has donated to the fund, we couldn’t do it without a lot of people,” said Doug Augenstein, the oldest child.

Many people donated when Richard passed away on Feb. 4, 2023. Dozens of long-time friends, family and neighbors came to the Augenstein family farm for a scholarship fundraiser in September. Together, they have raised over $15,000. The Augenstein children think this is the best way to honor their late father.

News Schalarship Honors Local Farmer Richard "Dick" Augenstein

“Dad was really generous. He would give you the shirt off his back – literally. He came off a tough farm economy in the 1980s, but he always had a positive attitude. He would drop everything to help us,” Tina recalled.

Richard especially loved his grandchildren.

“Dad would get in trouble as much as my son!” remembers Doug. “He mentored those grandchildren.”

The Augenstein family finds this a strong way to continue Richard’s legacy.

“He would be so happy to know about this,” Doug said. “Dad would want the most good to come out of it. It’s a shout-out to our parents and our grandparents for being generous people.”

“Dad never tried to squelch our dreams. Whatever we wanted to do, he encouraged us. I was the first in our family to go to college. I didn’t think we would have the money for it, but actually he brought me a brochure for college, and encouraged me to attend,” Tina recalls.

Mike and Tina are both first-generation college students. Tina received her degree in agronomy and has been working in the seed industry since 1995 and owns Lust Seed Sales and Service. She also married a farmer, Tom Lust.

Tina Lust and Mike Augenstein

Doug and Mike both continue to farm. Doug has worked in the farming industry nearly his entire life with Parrott Implement in Richwood and now also with Lust Seed Sales. Mike Augenstein works at Marion Technical College as the director of Workforce Solutions and is a Waldo Township Trustee.

Nancy Augenstein, Dick’s wife of 55 years, took bookkeeping classes at Marion Tech and managed the farm’s accounting. She enthusiastically supports this scholarship.

“She believes in the mission of Marion Tech,” Mike said.

The first scholarship will be awarded to a PTA student in the fall of 2024. The Augenstein family encourages community members to support this fund.

This is the first scholarship fund at Marion Tech exclusively for PTA students. PTA students receive a good return on their investment. Jobs are expected to grow by 26% over the next decade and pay $62,770 a year with an associate’s degree. The program had a 100% passing rate on the licensing exam in 2022.

“This is a great investment in our students, our health care system and our community,” said Dr. Chad Hensel, director of the PTA program at Marion Tech. “They help patients from children to senior citizens to help them recovery from injuries and illness. This will help a strong student with financial need get to graduation.”

The Augenstein family see this as another way Richard is giving to the community, in addition to his careful tending of his faith, family, and his farm.

“If you have fun with what you do, that’s a good life,” Tina said.

To support the Augenstein Family Scholarship Fund, click here.

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