IT STARTED as an idea about doing something to honor a man whose message of giving back inspired his children and grandchildren.
And now, three decades later, the Strimbu Memorial Fund is making a difference for thousands of families across the region.
Each year, the fund’s annual barbecue raises money to support the mission that Nick Strimbu Jr. repeated over and over to his children — give back to and support your community.
It is obvious it is working.
The fund started slowly, as the best community efforts do. And now, through the support of corporate sponsors and individual donors, nearly $150,000 was handed out in 2018 to organizations that are carrying out that mission — to make this region a better place.
No effort like this is done without a whole lot of people working behind the scenes.
And there are a lot of them who did — and have — done just that.
The chief volunteers at that annual barbecue, which is planned for May 1 this year, are Bill Strimbu and the members of the Strimbu family.
Getting the family to talk about the good they do — well, that is not so easy.
Bill Strimbu says he wouldn’t talk about it at all — except that the exposure the fund’s efforts gets helps his family, and the members of the fund’s board of directors, change the lives of more and more people.
How refreshing. How impactful. How true to the lessons taught by a businessman who understood that his first duty, after his family, was to his community.
There is a lot of less-than- honorable maneuvering that goes on today in all aspects of life.
The stories that you hear can be a little depressing.
But the inspiration of those who give and those whose lives are changed by the work that the Strimbu Memorial Fund supports, well that is good news, and a testament to what can happen when people join hands to make a difference.
There are no free lunches anymore, not really. The agencies and nonprofits that work in this community are focused squarely on giving those who are struggling the chance to change their fortunes.
And the Strimbu Memorial Fund’s board of directors chooses carefully when deciding whom to support. Giving people a hand up, not a hand out, is what Nick Strimbu taught his children, and what they taught their own children.
And that is how lives get changed.
On this, the fund’s 30th anniversary, we should point to it, and those who have been in the trenches making it work for all those years, as an example of what we should be — as a community, as a state and as a nation.
Giving back is paying good fortune forward. Challenging those who are struggling to seek more for themselves and their families — and giving them the support they need to get there — that is what this Valley is all about — and what being an American should be about.
It is an example we wish more people would choose.
And today, on Easter Sunday, there could be no better time to reflect on the impact an outreached hand can have on our neighbors, our community and our future.