FREMONT When John Paul “Big Nut” Peters was a kid, his grandfather, Paul Schepflin, would tune in to Ohio State University football games as the two did chores on the family’s Fremont farm barn. Schepflin was a 1932 OSU graduate, and in 1976 he took Jon to his first football game at OSU. Little did they know about the amount of benevolence that would result from those simple family moments.
“OSU lost that day, but it’s not the end result that matters. John said.
Those early experiences with his grandfather were the impetus for seeing John donate, prior to his death, $1 million in scholarship money to students attending Ohio State University. On October 19, he took another step closer to that dream when he donated $15,000 to the Sandusky County Community Foundation for the Big Nut Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarship money to students from eight schools in the area.
Big Nut and First Lady Nut offer thousands of foundation scholarships
So far, John and his wife, Therese, have donated $91,000 to the foundation. They will donate another $10,000 in scholarships to Ohio State University, creating a grand total of $25,000 in scholarship donations this year alone.
Several times a year, Terese uses stage makeup to transform John into Big Nut, the ultimate OSU fan who raises money through appearances and fundraising. Therese taught herself how to create the Big Nut look, which takes about an hour to complete.
“At first, she kept saying, ‘I can’t do that,’ and I kept saying, ‘Yeah, you can,'” John said. ‘I couldn’t have done all this without First Lady Knott. We try to do something unique and do something that others don’t. We just want to help out and do our job, and that’s what we chose to do, a scholarship fund.”
The Big Nut character is a well known and much loved sight in Ohio. The Big Nut character puts a brightly colored face on John’s efforts to raise scholarship money.
“We do this to spread awareness of what we do and to inspire others. Little things can inspire someone to do the next thing,” John said. “We try to fulfill God’s word and do positive things because that’s what God wants.”
Big Nut also raises money through sales of nutritional products
John also raises scholarship money through his Big Nut brand of products, including pickles and barbecue sauce, which are sold in local stores.
“It all helps. It’s all for the kids,” John said. “This is our way of pushing it forward and giving it to the kids. It’s not what you take with you but what you leave behind.”
As Big Nut spreads joy and donates money to the community, it hopes to encourage others to realize the importance of using time and personal resources to influence others.
“There comes a time in life when you can’t be parsley on the plate. Parsley may look good, but it won’t feed your appetite. You need to reach for meat and potatoes than what you do in life,” John said. “Whatever you do, you have to have a purpose. Some people seem as good as parsley in our local community, but what do you do to make a difference? “
Contact reporter Sherry Trusty at firstname.lastname@example.org.