26th Annual Strimbu Memorial Bar-B-Que Draws Large Crowd

Thousands of dollars of scholarships awarded

The 26th Annual Strimbu Bar-B-Que drew a large crowd of almost 1,600 on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at the Yankee Lake Ballroom in Brookfield as part of a fund raising effort for the Strimbu Memorial Fund. First National Bank was the major sponsor of the event.

Since its inception in 1990, the Strimbu Memorial Fund has provided millions of dollars in donations and scholarships. At last year’s BBQ, it awarded $55,000 in scholarships to local high school students. The fund also supports local economic development and many charitable organizations. This past December, the Strimbu Memorial Fund awarded nearly $175,000 in grants to area organizations and individuals.

“The Strimbu Memorial Fund was created to perpetuate the work of the late Nick Strimbu Jr., who had a passion for leading individuals and economic development agencies in order to attract, assist and retain the industrial base of the valley,” said Board President Paul O’Brien. “In addition, when the Strimbu Memorial Fund awards scholarships to area students, we are investing in the life of a person—and that is worth millions.”

The BBQ, catered by Jeffrey Chrystal Catering, featured an endless buffet reminiscent of a full-scale Texas bar-b-que with a multitude of appetizers, plus blackened catfish, BBQ ribs, cherry wood fire chicken, smoked turkey breast, pork loin and more. New this year was chocolate fondue for dessert, a late night offering of wood-fired pizzas and a premium wine bar with souvenir wine glasses.

Because of the overwhelming response to last year’s entertainment, this year will once again feature country-rock star Chris Higbee. In 2000, Higbee founded a band, the PovertyNeck Hillbillies (PNH), named after a hollow on his father’s farm. As the lead of PNH, Higbee delivered wild and energetic concerts across the country on stages, rooftops, and any other platform from which Higbee could fathom a way to play. His extraordinary fiddle playing became widely known and he was asked to play fiddle alongside music icon Charlie Daniels.

“The BBQ is also known for its giveaway of a bag of Vidalia onions to all those in attendance,” said O’Brien, president of the Strimbu Memorial Fund board. “This tradition started as the Strimbu family always brought back Vidalia onions from the South to give to their friends,” he explained.

The event also featured both silent and live auctions, with many unique items such as utility vehicles, travel packages, Steelers Home Opener package, a custom made charcoal grill and smoker, an Avalon Golf and Country Club family membership, a Polaris Ranger, Lake Erie walleye fishing trips, various dinner packages and assorted jewelry items, just to name a few.

This year, the fund awarded fourteen $2,000 and one $10,000 college scholarships to local high school seniors planning to further their education. Leadership and self-reliance are the two most important criteria that are required to receive one of these scholarships. The requirements were established to mirror the example that Nick Strimbu Jr. demonstrated during his lifetime. The fund’s philosophy is simple: one of the most substantial ways to enhance our community’s future is to help educate the young people who will be the leaders of tomorrow. Ninety-nine percent of the proceeds of the Strimbu BBQ go to these scholarships and grants.

Those receiving scholarships and the sponsors that provided the funding are:

2015 Scholarship Winners

Cheyanne B. Dickson
Badger High School
Scholarship sponsored by Miller Livestock
Ana I. Zarlinski
Brookfield High School
Scholarship sponsored by Kirila Family Fund
Tia N. Klumph
Farrell High School
Scholarship sponsored by Friends of William Basilone
Amanda B. Dawes
Greenville High School
Scholarship sponsored by Huntington Bank
Madison T. Bell
Hickory High School
Scholarship sponsored by Matune/Basile Advisors
Macey R. Sarisky
Hubbard High School
Scholarship sponsored by Truck World
Bridget G. LaRock
John F. Kennedy Catholic High School
Scholarship sponsored by National Interstate Insurance
Benjamin R. Wilson
Kennedy Catholic High School
Scholarship sponsored by Hudson Property Management
Ashley R. Wolanzyk
Lakeview (OH) High School
Scholarship sponsored by The Whetstone Family & Toyota of Warren
Madison V. Nicula
Mathews High School
Scholarship sponsored by Governor Insurance
Kayla M. Thompson*
Reynolds High School
Scholarship sponsored by Reynolds Services, Inc.
Samuel A. Walgenbach
Sharon High School
Scholarship sponsored by Citizens Bank
Samuel V. Ference
Sharpsville High School
Scholarship sponsored by Hunter Truck Sales
Adam E. Dale
West Middlesex Area High School
Scholarship sponsored by Fifth Third Bank
The $500 Essay Award Winner provided by the Angelo & Jenny Mastrian Charitable Trust was Bradley T. Calleja from Sharpsville High School.

* The overall $10,000 scholarship winner was Kayla M. Thompson from Reynolds High School.