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'Breathtaking' boost for scholarship
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Eleven months after his death at the age of 101, Ed Vavruska continues to give back to the youth of the community.

On Thursday, Bill Brandt, a trustee for the estate, presented the Red Robin Scholarship Foundation with a check for $721,000, representing the final disbursement from the estate.

“We’re greatly honored to receive such a breathtakingly generous donation,” John Rhode, president of the foundation, said.

“This is a great step toward helping the young people in our community move on with their education,” Brandt said.

The donation almost doubles the sizes of the foundation, which last year provided 92 Red Robin scholarships to Antigo High School students.

Rhode said the additional dollars will allow the organization to increase its number of one-time $1,000 stipends along with it four-year progressive scholarships.

“This really solidifies the foundation,” he said, suggesting that with wise investing, the money will live on in perpetuity.

“This is the last step in Ed and Bernice Vavruska’s estate,” Brandt said. “Ed directed that after his funds were distributed, his wish was for the remainder of the estate to go toward helping local young people with their education. Ed and Bernice were big supporters of our youth throughout their lives.”

The presentation was made at the Vavruska Pool, the warm-water, zero-entry portion of the Clara R. McKenna Aquatic Center. The pool was named in honor of the Vavruskas after they donated in excess of $300,000 toward its construction and continued as major benefactors.

Vavruska, who died on June 18, 2013, packed a millennium’s worth of experience into his century-plus life. He was a star high school football player, was witness to the bombing on Pearl Harbor that opened World War II, and participated in the battle of Iwo Jima near that conflict’s end.

He parlayed his experiences into a successful businessman, allowing him and his wife of 51 years, Bernice, to give back hundreds of thousands of dollars to the community, including the local arts, historical society, and a myriad of youth sports organizations and activities.

Vavruska was selected as Antigo High School Alumnus of the Year in 2000.
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From left, Bill Brandt, representing the Ed and Bernice Vavruska estate, presents a check to Red Robin Scholarship Foundation secretary-treasurer Becky Kassis, board member Greg Parise, and John Rhode, president of the organization.
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ANTIGO DAILY
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Mail to: Fred Berner
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