CANTON, Ohio – The Tom Seifert family is learning that when you give a lot of yourself to a community, you get a lot back in return.
Tom and Vickie Seifert were overwhelmed by the contributions pledged during this year’s Stark County Fair to the Christopher Seifert Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The scholarship fund was created in tribute to Seifert, a former 4-H’er and 15-year junior fair volunteer who died in an automobile accident earlier this year.
Tom Seifert has chaired the junior fair steer committee for many years and when Chris “graduated” from 4-H, he, too, became an active volunteer.
The first scholarship will be presented during the 2007 fair.
Steer sale. Prior to the start of Saturday night’s steer sale, the junior fair awarded Chris Seifert as its 4-H Alumni of the Year, and before the family left the ring, Chris’ employer, Lindsay Concrete, presented a $1,000 check to them for the scholarship fund.
The Seiferts thought that was a wonderful donation, but when the sixth steer entered the sale ring, they got an even better surprise.
Huntington Bank bought Bethann Miller’s reserve champion Shorthorn steer and promptly donated the 1,425-pound steer back to resell benefiting the scholarship fund. They didn’t know it at the time, but the steer they randomly chose to buy had a Seifert connection, too. Bethann’s late father, Dave Miller, was a very close friend of Chris Seifert.
The second time through the ring, the steer sold to a coalition of public officials, who also immediately donated the steer back to benefit the fund.
Then the Stark County Farm Bureau bought the steer and sent it back to the auction block, where it sold a fourth and final time to Friends of the Seifert Family.
By the time the gavel cracked the final time, the steer sales raised $6,697.25 for the fund.
Week-long outpouring. Several of the youth selling their market animals during the two-day sale donated a portion of their sale proceeds, including Ashley Madzia, who contributed 10 percent. Madzia’s own situation merited special attention itself, as the teen’s house burned down in April, but she chose to put the Seifert fund above her own personal needs.
And Bethann Miller, whose steer started the donation ball rolling, also donated $100 to the fund.
Vickie Seifert, who spent most of the week in the junior fair office accepting donations and sharing information about the fund, said a final total isn’t complete, but more than $10,000 was raised during the Stark County Fair.
“Right now we’re on Cloud 9,” Seifert said. “We were doing this for Chris and we know this is what he would have wanted.”
She said the family extends its thanks to “everyone who participated in any way, shape or form.”
“He just really loved 4-H,” she added. “He loved the kids.”
Donations continue to be accepted at any Stark County branch of the First Merit Bank.
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