27th Annual Strimbu Memorial Bar-B-Que Draws Large Crowd

$48,500 in scholarships awarded

Brookfield, OH—The 27th Annual Strimbu Bar-B-Que drew a large crowd of almost 1,600 on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 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 approximately $3 million in support of academic scholarships, local economic development and numerous charitable organizations. At this year’s BBQ, it awarded $48,500 in scholarships to local high school students. Ninety-nine percent of the proceeds of the Strimbu BBQ go to these scholarships and grants.

“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 Jim Grasso. “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. Because of the overwhelming response to last year’s entertainment, it once again featured country-rock star Chris Higbee. His extraordinary fiddle playing became widely known and he was asked to play fiddle alongside music icon Charlie Daniels.

The event also featured both silent and live auctions, with many unique items such as a ride on the Goodyear Blimp, an electric cart, a wood-fired alfresco pizza oven, a John Deere Z-track mower, an Avalon Golf & Country Club golf membership, a John Deere Gator utility vehicle, travel packages and a Steelers Home Opener package, 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.

There were also two special scholarships this year: a one-time John D. Holliday Memorial Scholarship for $5,000 to a Youngstown State University business student and a one-time vocational school $5,000 scholarship in memory of Jacob R. French.

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

2016 Scholarship Winners

Garrett D. Kellogg
Badger High School
Scholarship sponsored by Custom Coating & Miller Livestock
Andrew P. Varga
Brookfield High School
Scholarship sponsored by Kirila Family Fund
Casonddra L. Thomas
Farrell High School
Scholarship sponsored by Friends of William Basilone
Joseph J. Wizorek
Greenville High School
Scholarship sponsored by Chubb & HDH Group
Katie M. Gustas
Hickory High School
Scholarship sponsored by Matune/Basile Advisors
Alexander P. Frank
Hubbard High School
Scholarship sponsored by Truck World
Taylor E. Vassis
John F. Kennedy Catholic High School
Scholarship sponsored by Ted & Gina Bloom & Incredible Solutions
Reganne L. O’Brien
Kennedy Catholic High School
Scholarship sponsored by National Interstate Insurance
Taylor K. Horn
Lakeview (OH) High School
Scholarship sponsored by The Whetstone Family & Toyota of Warren
Bryan R. Oatridge
Mathews High School
Scholarship sponsored by Governor Insurance
Adam D. Ballish
Reynolds High School
Scholarship sponsored by Reynolds Services, Inc.
Delaney R. Ser
Sharon High School
Scholarship sponsored by Flynn’s Tires
Emma E. Messett
Sharpsville High School
Scholarship sponsored by Hunter Truck Sales & Service
Zachary T. Stout
West Middlesex High School
Scholarship sponsored by Primary Health Charitable Foundation


The overall $10,000 scholarship winner was Taylor K. Horn from Lakeview High School.

The $500 Essay Award Winner provided by the Angelo & Jenny Mastrian Charitable Trust was Isabella N. Schell from Sharpsville High School. The John D. Holliday Memorial YSU Business Scholarship Award was presented to Zach Brockman. The Jacob R. French Vocational Scholarship was awarded to Evan L. Engelhardt from Brookfield High School.