Austin Thurman was a 2006 graduate of Hermann High School and a 2010 graduate of University of Central Missouri. He graduated with a Criminal Justice degree and worked for the Missouri Department of Corrections in Fulton, Missouri. Throughout his life, he lived in the Hermann area and took part in different community functions until 2012, when Austin passed away due to a SUDEP epileptic seizure.
After his death, his family started a memorial scholarship in 2015 in his honor. In order to raise money for the scholarship, the family set out different donation jars throughout town. However, since Austin's niece, Elissa Thurman, is a senior at Hermann High School, her family thought it was an appropriate challenge for her to take over to organize and raise money for the scholarship.
¨Since I am a senior in high school, I know that college is expensive and I wanted to be able to raise more money than just leaving out donation jars,¨ Elissa Thurman (12) said. ¨Austin was a police officer who loved to run, so I came up with the idea of a 5K race.¨
In order to raise awareness of the race, Thurman made up flyers which she distributed to local businesses and throughout the school; she made social media pages to become more accessible to people. She made enrollment forms and designed and ordered t-shirts for the participants.
Because she is organizing the event, Elissa has opted out of participating in the scholarship and is, instead, focused on providing the financial opportunity to her peers.
¨So far, I have raised around $2,300, but that is before I take out the costs for the t-shirts,¨ Thurman added. ¨I never expected all of this.¨
The race will take place in the end of March and will go throughout the town of Hermann.