It’s a familiar story: a person grows up in a small rural community, goes to college, gets a job and moves away.
Such is the case for Bruce Penwell, Jr., who was born in Pana, Illinois and graduated from Beecher City High School. He attended University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and worked in sales and marketing in the animal health industry. After living and working for several years in Raleigh, North Carolina, he has now retired to St. Joseph, Michigan. However, Penwell has never forgotten his ties to Effingham and Shelby counties, even when living on the other side of the country.
With his hometown roots in mind, Penwell established the Bruce V. Penwell, Jr. Designated Fund to support organizations located in Effingham, Beecher City, Shelbyville and Pana.
The fund will provide two scholarships (valued at $3,000 each) at Beecher City High School. One scholarship will support students majoring in education in memory of Mabel Laue, a former Beecher City High School teacher. The second scholarship will provide financial support to students pursuing a nursing degree, in memory of Elva Jennings Penwell.
Penwell will also support the Beecher City Cemetery (Beecher City) and Linwood Cemetery (Pana), for general upkeep and maintenance, as well as the Beecher City Library, Shelby County Historical and Genealogical Society and the Effingham County Genealogical Society through the designated fund.
Bruce Penwell, Jr. is just one of the number of people who have set up funds to give back to their community, even when they are no longer living locally. To learn more about setting up a fund to support your hometown, contact our staff.