Greater Good

Lasting Legacy

A lovely lady in our community
who left a lasting legacy for area youth

Article by Shannon Stewart Salinsky |  Photos courtesy of Autobahn Motorcar Group

Diann Chase felt strongly about many things during her lifetime. But people who knew her well remember a very strong passion for youth and heard her say more than once, âAll young people should be able to receive a college education if they desire one.â With that thought in mind, the  Autobahn Motorcar Group Youth Scholarship Tour has changed the name of its annual event to the Diann Chase Longhorn Scholarship Expo.

The Diann Chase Longhorn Scholarship Expo | The new name for the event is to honor the late Diann Chase, whose tireless wisdom and guidance nurtured the tour into what it has become today. Along with her husband  John, Diann co-founded the event and was a steadfast champion of the Autobahn Youth Tour. To mark the occasion, $25,000 in scholarships will be added to the inaugural Diann Chase Longhorn Scholarship Expo in 2015. The additional $25,000 will bring the total for the 2015 Expo to $375,000 in scholarships. Her commitment to helping educate youth was reflected in her generosity and uncompromising belief in the importance of a college education for all.

Since it began in 2000, the scholarship tourâs vision has not wavered from its goal. The tour has grown over the years and now awards $375,000 in scholarships each year. This is a contrast to the organizationâs humble beginnings of offering $10,000 in awarded scholarship funds. The Chases give the credit of the tourâs success to the underlying philosophy of the programâthat kids come first. In addition to showing Texas Longhorns, the expo also offers awards in other categories, such as art, essay, livestock judging, agricultural mechanics, speech and more.

Love of the Longhorn | The Chases have a longtime love and appreciation for the Texas Longhorn breed. They established the Sand Dollar Ranch in 1993 with two goals in mindâfirst, to preserve the Texas Longhorn Breed that has meant so much to our Texas heritage and second, to breed the best Texas Longhorn cattle possible.

The Chases long history of raising Texas Longhorns coupled with the breedâs outstanding collection of young people made the Texas Longhorn a natural fit for the Autobahn Youth Tour.

This breed of cattle is known for its characteristically long horns (which can extend to 7 feet from tip to tip). According to the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America, the Texas Longhorn became the foundation of the American cattle industry by claiming first rights in the untamed, newly discovered Americas over 500 years ago. In 1493, Christopher Columbus brought Spanish cattle to Santa Domingo and within two hundred years their descendants would be grazing the ranges of Mexico. In 1690, the first herd of cattle, drove northward from Mexico near the Sabine River, land that later became known as our great state of Texas. Early missions and ranchers didnât survive the elements, but the Texas Longhorn did. The breed carried ideal characteristics of resistance that were suited for long drives. They could go incredible distances without water, fend food for themselves, swim rivers, and survive the summer heat and harsh winters. Their history is much more comprehensive with a near extinction and the breed is as rich in history as it is in color that fill many pastures across Texas.

A Heart for Giving |  âThe Chases have always had a heart for giving,â said Larry Barker, General Manager of Autobahn Youth Scholarship Tour. âDiann Chase was one of the most humble, gracious, genuine ladies Iâve ever known. She had a heart for children, the underprivileged and the forgotten.â In addition to the Diann Chase Longhorn Scholarship Expo, John and Diann Chase fund the $100,000 Diann Chase Scholarship for Academic Excellence each year for the children of Autobahn employees. The Chases work with Hope Farm and Happy Hill Farm childrenâs homes. They support organizations such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Wounded Warriors, Alliance for Children and the All Church Home. âThe Lord laid it on their hearts long ago to do this work for the children,â said Barker.

Participant Who Passed on the Tradition | Many of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) groups get involved and bring their membership to participate. Showing Texas Longhorn Cattle since the age of 7, Hannah Murphy participated in the original Autobahn Youth Tour group. She is an Agricultural Science Teacher and Mansfield FFA Advisor.

âBecause of the Autobahn program, I was able to grow up in a group of people who invested in me, loved me, supported me and really poured into me. At every show I always felt that I was among family. Not only has it affected me personally, but I have also been able to witness firsthand how the Autobahn program can change a young personâs life through many of my motherâs students. My mom works in a low socio-economic district, where many of her students have very low expectations of themselves and few have any aspirations of a future. The scholarship expo provides many of them with a higher sense of self-purpose and a glimpse of possibilities they had not previously imagined.â The Autobahn program also networks the youth with adults who serve as positive role models and give them the support base they need to rise to their full potential. Murphy said it was because of the Autobahn program and the experiences she had growing up in the program that she decided to become an Agriculture teacher and develop her own Longhorn show team. âPersonally, Autobahn has provided me with many leadership opportunities, and helped me to develop critical skills that I can now utilize on a day-to-day basis in building my own show team with my students. My dream of attending and graduating from Texas A&M University may have never been realized had not been for the generous hearts of Diann and John Chase.â

Murphy now brings her students to the scholarship expo. She said it encourages them to strive for college and creates avenues for them to achieve their goals. âWhat my students and I have learned, seen, and grown from is a drop in the bucket compared to all that the Chases have done for kids. I have never known anyone as generous, kind and altogether humble as the Chases. At every show I have always made it a point to seek out Mr. and Mrs. Chase to thank them for what they have done for me, and what they continue to do with my students. The response is always the same, âWe were blessed, so we try to be a blessing in whatever way we can,ââ said Murphy.

The Details | Children ages 7-18 from anywhere in the United States may participate in the event. The scholarship tour has welcomed guests from as far away as Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Colorado and New Mexico in years past. For children who may be too young to enter a contest, there are many other fun activities to keep them engaged such as pee-wee showmanship. The expo recognizes the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America, International Texas Longhorn Breeders and The Cattlemenâs Texas Longhorn Registry. Animals registered in any of the three recognized registries are eligible to compete.

The Diann Chase Longhorn Scholarship Expo is unique to the cattle industry and is the standard by which other breeds are seeking to invest in the future of our youth. Contact General Manager Larry Barker at (817) 988-6110 or email LBarker@abahn.com for more details. The 2015 dates for the Expo are scheduled for June 10-14, 2015.

In Memory | Murphy said although she never knew Mrs. Chase on a personal level, she spoke to her every year at the event. She said she never saw Mrs. Chase without a smile on her faceâalways offering encouraging words to the children. âShe was truly a special person, and I hope more than anything that she knew how special she was to so many. She completely inspired, impacted and changed my life without even knowing me personally. I canât imagine a legacy stronger than that.â