Crissinger first recipient of award

FAIRMONT — Marshall Crissinger, a senior at Fairmont High School, has received $12,000 in tool and tuition assistance from Miller Sellner Fairmont.

Crissinger, son of Ken and Wanetta Crissinger, plans to attend Iowa Lakes Community College in Emmetsburg this fall for Farm Equipment and Diesel Technology.

Crissinger said he’s had an interest in the field since he was about in 7th grade.

“It started when I started helping a family friend with their farm. We started doing general maintenance on the equipment and it was something that clicked for me,” Crissinger said.

Crissinger already had an interest in one day working at Miller Sellner, which he shared with his teacher, Bob Bonin, who told him they had funds available, so he started on the application process.

Crissinger also will be doing an internship with Miller Sellner while completing college.

“My long-term goal is to keep working for them,” Crissinger said.

Kathi Gruenhagen works in human resources for Miller Sellner. She said they give one award to a student for each of their stores in Sleepy Eye, Bingham Lake, Slayton and Fairmont.

Interested students are asked to submit two letters of recommendation and answer a questionnaire. Students also need to write a letter explaining their history, professional goals and why they want to go into this line of work.

“A lot of it is on character, their integrity, respect, responsibility, dependability and teamwork,” Gruenhagen.

When asked why Miller Sellner continues to provide tool and tuition assistance to students, Gruenhagen said, “We’re training them while they’re learning and we’re paying them while they’re learning. And when they come out of school, they know us, we know them and we know their skills and they can go right to work with little effort.”

Crissinger is the first student from Fairmont High School to receive the award from Miller Sellner.

Bonin, who is a long-time vocational teacher at Fairmont High School, said there are more scholarship opportunities available for kids in CTE programs than there has been in the past. He said other businesses like 3M and Easy Energy Systems out of Welcome also offer scholarships.

Bonin pointed out that just like anywhere else, people retire and businesses need to replace them.

“We’re excited for Marshall. It’s a pretty sizable amount for a two-year school,” Bonin said.

Crissinger has taken several of Bonin’s classes while in high school to help prepare him for the future he wants. He said the welding, small engine and auto mechanics classes have been useful for him.

The Fairmont Area School District has been working on building its vocations programs in recent years. The high school is in the process of building an expanded vocational center in order to provide more programs.

Superintendent Joe Brown said, “You want a skilled worker working on your truck or installing a new furnace. You want a person skilled and it seems like finally our society is rewarding scholarships to people who want to be skilled workers.”


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