11 students chosen for Little Joe Trust Fund Scholarship
LeCompte: ‘This is a way to continue to honor Joe Starchman’
Starting in 1984, to help raise $250,000 for local 6-year-old boy Joe Starchman get a heart and lung transplant, the Little Joe Trust Fund has since transitioned into scholarship fund for local students.
Jim LeCompte, board trustee and attorney, said in 1984 the board consisted of five members that came together to raise the $250,000 needed for aftercare for Starchman to get the transplant.
“At the time, the doctors wouldn’t authorize the transplant if the funding for aftercare was not available,” he said. “The aftercare included anti-rejection medications.”
LeCompte said the doctors were going to perform the operation without cost, but the money needed to be available for other medication.
“We went around locally and asked for people to donate,” he said. “There was also an effort to obtain more regional publicity, and since the Starchman family was from Joplin, the Joplin area was also heavily involved.”
LeCompte said Mr. Starchman’s insurance company, Farmers Insurance, also provided support through various agents and the corporation itself.
“It took about six months to gather the total amount needed,” he said. “After the death of Joe Starchman in the mid 90s, we provided some money to other children that had transplant needs.”
LeCompte said the money was given based on need and what insurance companies would not pay.
“A few years after Joe Starchman’s death, we switched over to scholarships,” he said. “Last year, we handed out $8,000, and this year we anticipate to hand out $11,000.”
LeCompte said all of the recipients of the scholarships are graduates from a high school in Barry County.
“This year, each of the schools in the county will have at least one recipient,” he said. “We have chosen 11 students this year.”
LeCompte said each student will get a grant of $1,000, payable in two installments, one in the fall semester of 2019 and the other for payment of the spring semester of 2020.
“The scholarships are an ongoing way that we can still honor Joe Starchman, who was the reason the fund was formed,” he said. “The original intent was to try to save a child who needed a transplant, and unfortunately he never received the transplant because he passed away before he could get it.”