Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sarah’s Run Raises Money for Scholarship

The Darke County Foundation awarded the 2014 Sarah Whittaker Memorial Scholarship to Thomas Shaw, 2014 graduate of Greenville High School. From left: Christy Prakel (president of the Darke County Foundation) Allen Whittaker (Sarah’s father),Thomas Shaw, Darlene Grubb (Thomas’ mother) and Greg Grubb (Thomas’ stepfather).

The 7th annual Sarah’s Poker Run in Greenville on June 13 and 14 raised nearly $7,000 for the Sarah Whittaker Memorial Scholarship Fund, administered by the Darke County Foundation (formerly named the HOPE Foundation). The event kicked off on Friday with a dinner and dance featuring the local band Classified at Paws Bingo Hall. On Saturday, over 200 motorcyclists participated in a Poker Run, followed by dinner, an auction, and door prizes. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the fourth annual scholarship in memory of Sarah, daughter of Allen and Karen Whittaker of the Greenville area. Sarah died in 2008 at the age of 17.

Winner of the scholarship was Thomas Shaw, 2014 graduate of Greenville High School. The award is worth approximately $2,500. Shaw’s leadership in FFA and 4-H contributed to his winning the award. Sarah was a member of the Darke County 4-H Beef Club, and the Whittakers are strong advocates of 4-H and FFA, and the values they instill in young people. Shaw is a state FFA officer, state degree recipient, 10-year 4-H member, Jr. Fairboard President, 2013 Outstanding 4-H Boy in Darke County, and national 4-H conference attendee. Shaw also is a farm broadcaster on WTGR radio.

Shaw plans to attend Wilmington College and major in Agriculture Education and Agriculture Communication.

Local businesses and individuals donated a vast array of prizes for the event, and riders made additional donations by purchasing commemorative t-shirts. In seven years, over $55,000 has been raised for Sarah’s Scholarship Fund, which will award a scholarship each year to a Darke County graduate involved in 4-H or FFA.

Allen and Karen Whittaker organize Sarah’s Run every year, and Allen works throughout the year to spread awareness about teen suicide, which claimed the life of his daughter. Allen said Sarah was a loving and joyful girl who made an impulsive, devastating decision with permanent and painful consequences. Allen’s message to teens is that there are no problems that cannot be worked out with people who care about you.

The Darke County Foundation receives, manages and distributes charitable gifts for the benefit of Darke County residents and non-profit organizations. For information about Sarah’s Fund or other charitable funds, call 548-4673 or visit

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