When we think of Austen, we think of a young man with a never ending curiosity to try new things. From a very early age, he was adventurous enough to try new foods, try new skills and crafts, read anything and just learn as much as he could. He could hand sew, paint, and needlepoint by the age of about 6. Austen became an accomplished welder in high school. Austen also had taken in interest in sketching and the fox logo became his signature trademark. In his short life, he had become a great mechanic, home remodeler and so much more. He was pretty well skilled at so many things. Nothing was done halfheartedly and he excelled at everything he tried – welding, cooking, sewing, and automotive repair. He once spent 15 hours polishing parts for his motorcycle.
There wasn’t a craft he would not try and everything he tried was given his full focus (except school – he wasn’t always the best student).
In school, Austen was a kid who was not popular, not part of the “in crowd.” He was not into sports or clubs or organized activities; he didn’t like being the focus of attention. Austen was quite content to sit in the shadows and keep to himself. It wasn’t until his senior year of high school that he became an active member of Key Club and found his niche. He loved doing volunteer work and helping others. He tutored elementary school children, worked on people’s cars, loaned money he couldn’t afford, helped classmates study and helped his brother, Ryan, with construction/renovation on his house. He did all this and never asked for anything in return. He was proud of his work and accomplishments but quiet about them because that was who he was.
Dr. Shampo established an annual scholarship at Austen’s alma mater, CM Russel High School in Great Falls, MT. The scholarship is presented annually to a student that embodies Austen’s giving, compassionate spirit.