Trust donation strengthens scholarship for future RLC students | News
INA, IL (KFVS) - Rend Lake College says the Diamun Family Trust has straightened the Mundell Memorial Scholarship for future RLC students.
In 2003, the RLC Foundation learned it was the benefactor of $14,157 from the Diamun Family Trust. The money was to establish the Mundell scholarship endowment for BCHS graduates. The Foundation invested the money and, with the earnings, has awarded the Tommy Mundell Memorial Scholarship to a deserving Benton graduate every year since.
Nine years and nine scholarship recipients later, RLCF CEO Shawna Hall received a visit from the executor of the trust. Curtis Mundell had passed away. The Diamun Family Trust terms were now complete. Three educational institutions – RLC, Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a university out west – received an additional $39,463.
“This added contribution means more funding for scholarships and more students being reached by the Diamun family and the Mundell scholarship,” said Hall. “It immediately strengthens the impact this scholarship will make in the lives of students here at Rend Lake College.”
Bethany Hammonds had probably never heard of Tommy Mundell. The 17-year-old Benton Consolidated High School graduate most likely hasn’t met anyone from the Diamun family. But since being chosen as the 2012 recipient of the Tommy Mundell Memorial Scholarship to Rend Lake College, Hammonds should never forget these names or the opportunities they have provided her and other RLC students.
Tommy Mundell would be in his 60s if he were alive today. His friend from childhood, RLCF Board of Directors Member Mary Ellen Aiken, attended church with Tommy on Sundays.
“He was a lot of fun and rambunctious ... just a regular teenager,” she said. “One day he was out near some oil well pumps with a friend. The pump wasn’t on so he sat on it, like he was riding a horse. While he was on it, the oil well pump started up.”
The injuries he sustained in the accident left him hospitalized in St. Louis and eventually took his life. The late Curtis and Jenny Mundell were Tommy’s parents. They were devastated by the tragedy. But as much as Curtis Mundell’s life was ameliorated by Tommy’s birth, it was transformed even more by his son’s death.
After Tommy’s death, Curtis engrossed himself in the church and concentrated his missionary efforts on a children’s home out west, Aiken said.
“If he were alive, I think Curt would feel privileged and humbled – he was a very humble man – to know that the trust was being used to help young men and women prepare a strong educational future for themselves,” said Aiken. “Because of Curt’s love for his teenage son, Tommy, and his love for ... children, he would be proud to see the accomplishments of Rend Lake College students.”
It’s difficult to gauge how much of a local impact a scholarship like the Mundell Memorial makes. Hammonds is the 10th recipient and, like Curtis, has a goal of helping children. She wants to be a nurse and specialize in pediatrics.
“In Bethany’s case, it helps her reach her goal of helping others,” Hall added. “Who can say how many lives she will impact? A scholarship starts a chain reaction that endures far beyond the moment a student graduates from RLC.”
Hall said planned gifts of estates or trusts, like the Diamun Family Trust, is a prime way to deliver scholarships to students through the Foundation. Since the interest from the principal is what is used to annually fund the scholarship, it perpetually supports students for generations to come.
There are hundreds of scholarship contributors helping students at RLC. Last year, $500,000 in scholarships to RLC were awarded to students. More than $4 million has been awarded since the RLCF established.
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