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New ~ Friends of Ernie Pyle Endowment Fund Established

The goal of the Friends of Ernie Pyle Endowment Fund is to keep Ernie Pyle’s legacy alive and in doing so honoring the memory of those who served.

Located in the west-central Indiana town of Dana, the site features Ernie Pyle’s birthplace and a museum highlighting the famous journalist’s life and writings as a correspondent during World War II.  The historic site is owned and operated by the Friends of Ernie Pyle, a nonprofit organization (federal tax ID number: 35-1866228) dedicated to the preservation and advancement of Pyle’s legacy in Dana, as well as throughout Indiana and the nation.

Pyle was born on August 3, 1900, to a tenant farm family just outside of Dana. He was an only child. He was educated in local schools and studied journalism at Indiana University-Bloomington before setting out on his newspaper career.  He maintained contact with his family and hometown throughout his life. He was on assignment as a war correspondent when he died on April 18, 1945, after being struck by a Japanese machine gunner’s bullet on Ie Shima, a small island near Okinawa in the South Pacific. He was 44 years old.

The house in which Pyle was born was rescued from demolition in the mid-1970s and restored by an upstart organization which became the Friends of Ernie Pyle. A local fundraising effort allowed the house to be moved from its original rural location into the town of Dana. It was dedicated as an Indiana state historic site in 1976.

The site in its expanded form was re-dedicated with a new museum in 1995 and operated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources until December 2009, when it was closed due to state financial cutbacks. In September 2010, the Friends re-opened the site through special arrangement with the state. In fall 2011, the State of Indiana gave ownership of the site to the Friends of Ernie Pyle.  On Jan. 1, 2012, the site was renamed the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum.

One of the purposes of the Friends of Ernie Pyle Endowment Fund and the Ernie Pyle WWII Museum is to promote awareness and understanding of the legacy and times of WWII correspondent Ernie Pyle.  The museum also aims to provide a place where relevant educational programs can be provided.  In addition, the Friends of Ernie Pyle Endowment Fund may support programs and projects associated with Ernie Pyle and the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum such as, but not limited to: the regular operating support of the Museum, startup costs for new initiatives offered by the Friends of Ernie Pyle, and capital costs associated with the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum, including equipment, repair and/or remodeling of facilities, new facilities, etc.

Contributions to the Friends of Ernie Pyle Endowment Fund are tax deductible and can be made online at or mailed to: Vermillion County Community Foundation, ATTN: Friends of Ernie Pyle Endowment Fund, PO Box 532, Clinton, IN 47842.

New Funds to Benefit Area Communities

Thirty-five (35) new endowment funds have recently been established to benefits area communities and high school students.  For more details click on the link to learn more about each fund.

The new funds include: Friends of Ernie Pyle Endowment Fund, Pay It Forward Scholarship Fund, Cameron Cheuvront Memorial Scholarship Fund, William, Johanna, and Mark Wilson Scholarship Fund, Vermillion County Community Improvement Fund, Nancy Bourne Benevolent Fund, Retha Dean (Coffing) Martin Scholarship Fund, The Strawser Family & Jim & Wanda Clawson Scholarship Fund, Joseph D. Henderson Family Fund, Clinton High School Memorial Monument Fund, Rick Randles Art & Music Appreciation Fund Scott Stanton Scholarship Fund, Mandy Stanton Cancer Fund, Dr. Robert E. & Marceline A. Dicks Indiana State Medical School Scholarship, LIVINGenerously Donor-Advised Fund, Harold & Jean Rieches Scholarship FundLee & Thelma T. Clingan FundAnna & Les Zimmerman Fund Charles Todd Wagoner Scholarship Fund Mariah (Martin) Zabriskie & Sean Zabriskie Scholarship Fund,  William & Nellie Hendrix Scholarship FundCarl Swinford Memorial Scholarship FundEllis Family Scholarship Fund, Dr. Robert & Sue Ewbank Scholarship Fund, Yale & Orthanna Yager Scholarship FundCarol Shew Nursing Scholarship Fund Christy DeSutter Cancer Fund Kay Shoaf Scholarship FundRandall G. Shoaf Scholarship FundRobert & Lucreita (Verrill) Shoaf Scholarship Fund,  Patricia Scherer Leath Education Scholarship FundWilliam, Johanna & Mario Wilson Charitable Community Fund,  Darrell & Edith Dennis Community FundDaniel & Renee McGrady Family Fund,  CDH Scholarship FundWallace-Minnette Community Fund, George Norman Family FundMark & Cindy Mason Community Fund, and the Michael & Mary Margaret Rhees Community Fund.

To learn how you can establish a fund to benefit your community contact Dale at (765) 793-0702 or by email at

Foundation Partners with Dolly Parton Imagination Library

In partnership with the 𝐕𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐲 𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜 𝐋𝐢𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐫𝐲 – in Newport (serving Helt, Highland, Eugene, and Vermillion townships), the 𝐕𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐲 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧, is pleased to announce its affiliation with the 𝐃𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐨𝐧’𝐬 𝐈𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐋𝐢𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐫𝐲. The Imagination Library is a book gifting program for preschool age children birth to age 5.

To enroll in the program, the children must live in a community that sponsors the Imagination Library. The program replication strategy is simple; monthly an age-appropriate book is mailed directly to the enrolled child’s home at no cost to the parent. The books are mailed directly to the child in order to create a sense of excitement and bond with the books. Dolly has a saying, “𝐼𝑓 𝑏𝑜𝑜𝑘𝑠 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑎 𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑙, 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙 𝑏𝑜𝑜𝑘𝑠 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑙.”

You may enroll a child in the program thru the link below if you reside in the townships of Helt, Highland, Eugene, or Vermillion in Vermillion County, Indiana.  Otherwise, contact the Clinton Public Library.…/affil…/INVERMILLION/…

NEW ~ Clinton High School Monument Memorial Fund

In early 2013 the old Clinton High School (1920-1977) was demolished to make way for a new Clinton Fire Department, which was constructed in 2020.  Bricks and limestone from the building were saved for use in the construction of a CHS Monument Memorial.  The city agreed to allow the memorial to be built on the corner of 4th and Mulberry St.

In addition to the initial cost of the construction of the monument memorial there would be ongoing maintenance costs associated with its care.  Therefore, the CHS Memorial Committee – Dick Mills (“1954”), George P. Carey (“1956”), Allen Shew (“1958), and Dean Strohm (“1963”) sought to raise funds for the initial cost of the memorial and to build a perpetual endowment for its long-term care and upkeep.

The initial fundraising efforts were successful and the CHS Monument Memorial has been constructed.  Donations continue to be received for the purpose of maintaining the monument and will be placed in the permanent endowment fund.  The City of Clinton – Fire Department has agreed to be the permanent custodian of the monument memorial as many former CHS alumni are no longer available to assist in providing upkeep for the monument.

The purpose of the fund is to provide support to the City of Clinton – Fire Department for providing assistance in supporting the maintenance and upkeep of the Clinton High School Monument Memorial.  Also, it will provide assistance for the maintenance, repair and restoration of the monument, brick pathway, benches, flowers, shrubbery, signage, and other markers of historical or architectural significance to the school, thus promoting an appreciation of school history to the educational benefit of the general public.

Donations to the Clinton High School Monument Memorial Fund may be made online or mailed to: Vermillion County Community Foundation, Attn: Clinton High School Monument Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 532, Clinton, IN 47842.


Lilly Endowment Community Scholar – Vermillion County Named

Cale Royer has been named the recipient of the 2022 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship in Vermillion County. He is the son of Scott and Nikki Royer and the 41st Vermillion County recipient of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.

Each Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship provides for full tuition, required fees and a special allocation of up to $900 per year for required books and required equipment for four years of undergraduate study on a full-time basis leading to a baccalaureate degree at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university. Lilly Endowment Community Scholars may also participate in the Lilly Scholars Network (LSN), which connects scholars with resources and opportunities to be active leaders on their campuses and in their communities. Both the scholarship program and LSN are supported by grants from Lilly Endowment to Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI).

Cale has been involved in numerous clubs, organizations and sporting activities as he pursued his high school education including; soccer captain, certified soccer referee, basketball, 4-H and Youth/Adult Congress Attendee, Junior Leaders president and Aquatic Science Club leader, National Merit Semifinalist, South Vermillion Academic Excellence I & II, National Honor Society, Rising Star of Indiana, Senior Class President, Voice of Democracy recipient, Optimist International Oratorical recipient, Indiana Senate Paige, church activities volunteer, Hong Kong Exchange program host, youth mentor/presenter for 4-H, Clinton Optimist Soccer League, Conservation Day, S.P.A.R.K. CLUB, the Clinton Public Library, participates in Vermillion County and Vermillion Trails Alliance clean ups and is employed.

One of Mr. Royer’s references wrote, “Cale has taken these problem-solving skills to his job on the family farm engineering devices to make the particular task more efficient. A perfect example was this year’s 4-H Electric project. This 4-Her developed a device that could and should be patented. Testing lights on a trailer can be cumbersome as each needs to be tested individually. This 4-Her designed and built an electronic test where the trailer is plugged into a small box.  This box has lights that coordinate with the trailer lights.  If the ‘box light’ lights up, then the corresponding trailer light works.  If not, then the point of troubleshooting has been determined quickly. Keep in mind I do not have a technical mind, and this is my very simplified version of this project that is amazing and blew the judge away!”

During Cale’s interview it was evident he has purposely selected classes, employment and activities that would enhance his own experiences and education for his long- and short-term goals. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, he plans to return to Vermillion County, open a design firm focusing on technologies for specialty crop production and operate a farm that will serve as a testing ground for new products while providing food for his community.

Twenty Vermillion County students applied for this year’s Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship.  The first phase of the selection process was for each selection committee member to score the application based on five criteria. These include goal statement, academic performance, community/non-school service, special situation, and personal references. Then the committee came together and totaled the application scores from each committee member.  The students with the highest five scored applications were invited to continue the scholarship process with an interview.

The second phase of the selection process included each of the finalists from the schools being interviewed by the scholarship committee. Each committee member independently scored each applicant on a sixth criteria which was the interview.

Following the final scoring, three finalists were forwarded to Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. (ICI) for final selection of the Vermillion County Community Foundation’s 2022 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship recipient.

Lilly Endowment created the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program for the 1998-1999 school year and has supported the program every year since with tuition grants totaling in excess of $439 million. More than 5,000 Indiana students have received the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship since the program’s inception.

The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are: 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.

NEW ~ Harold & Jean Rieches Scholarship Established

The Harold and Jean Rieches Scholarship Fund has recently been established at the Vermillion County Community Foundation to benefit graduates of South Vermillion High School.

This scholarship has been founded by Jean Rieches, in honor of her late husband, Harold “Harry” Rieches who passed away on February 10, 2021. Harry was a Korean War veteran with the United States Army, worked as a CPA, and previously owned the Dog ‘N Suds in Clinton. He was a former board member and Past President of the Vermillion County Hospital Board of Trustees; a Treasurer of the Collett Home, Past Treasurer of Clinton Chamber of Commerce, Past Treasurer of LIFT, and Past President of the Clinton Jaycees. He was a graduate of the University of Illinois. He spent winters in Green Valley, Arizona, and he had traveled the world.

Preceding him in death were his parents; two sons, Ray and Brian Rieches; a daughter, Jeanie; and a sister Gladys Rink of Henderson, Nevada. He is survived by his wife, Jean Rieches; a daughter, Sue Ann (Darrell) Cooperrider of Tarpin Springs, Florida.; a sister, Aldine Rittenauer of Lafayette, Indiana; two grandchildren, Jordan and Sean Cooperrider; a brother-in-law, Mike Wirz of Brownstown, Illinois; and many good friends.

The scholarship will be awarded to South Vermillion High School graduates who are pursuing a college major or career in business or accounting. Several criteria will be taken into consideration when choosing the recipients. Most importantly, there will be a strong focus on financial need as well as the students’ school and/or work-related activities. Additional criteria include community and volunteer service as well as having a minimum 2.5 grade point average.

Donations to the Harold & Jean Rieches Scholarship Fund may be made online at or mailed to: Vermillion County Community Foundation, Attn: Harold & Jean Rieches Scholarship Fund, PO Box 532, Clinton, IN 47842.

Western Indiana Community Foundation
135 S. Stringtown Rd.
P.O. Box 175
Covington, IN. 47932
Phone: 765-793-0702
Fax: 765-793-0703
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