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OU football: Box family establishes Austin Box '12' Foundation

First function will be to award an annual college scholarship to an Enid High School senior. Recipient will receive $1,500 per semester.
BY TRAVIS HANEY, Staff Writer, Published: February 26, 2012

Finalists for the scholarship will be interviewed by Whitney, as well as two of Austin's best friends, Matthew Athey and John Dillingham.

“They're going to have to bring their humor,” Whitney said, laughing.

The family is hopeful the scholarship is only the beginning for the foundation. Whitney mentioned an eight-man football tournament and a 5K or marathon as possibilities for the coming months and years.

“This scholarship is one of the many things we want to do,” Whitney said. “This is just the first step.”

Austin is being remembered in other ways, as well. The community soon plans to unveil a granite bench in his honor at the entrance to Selby Stadium, where the Plainsmen football team plays. A memorial to his No. 7 will be erected there, as well as at David Allen Ballpark, where Austin starred on several American Legion baseball teams.

The family also wants to use the foundation as a vehicle for honest discussions with kids about the dangers of drug abuse. It's a difficult but necessary purpose due to their unique position, the Boxes said.

They plan to speak in classrooms and at various events in the community.

“It's important to us,” Whitney said. “None of us believe Austin did anything knowingly to hurt himself. When you're 18-22, around that age, you feel invincible. You don't even realize the consequence of things. Even the slightest mistake can end really tragically.

“No one wants that to happen again. If our speaking to people can save a life, that would be amazing.”