Jerome Jurenovich brought down the house.
Speakers come and speakers go. And sometimes the good ones return. The Mercer County Hall of Fame made it an Open Door policy for the former Farrell and Kennedy Catholic High School graduate following his highly informative and heartwarming talk at the recent Hall of Fame banquet at the Radisson in West Middlesex.
Jurenovich, who talked about his days living in Farrell and attending Kennedy, received a standing ovation following his address. His talk was directed at his rise from the local scene to his broadcasting careers in television for CNN and FOX, the latter being his place of employment now in California. It's headline sports for Jerome Jurenovich.
According to Don Bennett, president of the Hall, Jurenovich is welcome anytime. "He's just a guy who certainly remembers his roots. He's one of the nice guys who made good."
And speaking of outstanding speeches. Jim Wildman, former Sharon High School football coach and the winningest coach in Mercer County football history, was one of the 2003 inductees into the Hall this year. He spoke in behalf of the class of 203 and one could hear a pin drop during his talk.
Wildman is one of about seven or eight inductees who have had another family member inducted at one time or another. Tim's father, Bo, was inducted a number of years ago.
As for the banquet itself. It went off without a hitch. There were a few minor flaws that the Board of Directors will touch on before next year's event, but nothing to get worked up about.
As Bill "Whiskers" Jacobson, a member of the board, put it, "It was just a fantastic banquet."
Every once in a while you meet up with a guy, a special man, whom you wish you had met much earlier in life.
That's my thoughts on Reverend Joseph Hopkins of New Wilmington, whom I first met when he was the visitation pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Sharon. "Pastor Joe" as he is known to his many friends, is no longer at Covenant but he returns every now and then to greet the church goers.
I received a letter from "Pastor Joe" last week and he informed me that he had officiated at the funeral of former Hickory High, Westminster College and University of Pittsburgh coaching great Frannie Webster.
"It was my privilege to have officiated at Frannie's funeral," said Rev. Hopkins. "Ron Galbreath and best friend Bill Morgan spoke eloquently of their high regard for him."
A tribute to Frannie Webster had appeared in one of my columns several weeks ago which prompted "Pastor Joe" to write the letter.
Rev. Hopkins is truly a man of God, an erudite person who has taken his teachings around the world. His sermons are tremendous and spirit-lifting.
Nice hearing from you, "Pastor Joe" and we'll be looking forward to talking to you soon.
Mike Schiemer, a former wrestling standout at Commodore Perry High School, is making his mark as a 241-pound junior wrestler for the Thiel College Tomcats.
Schiemer was named the Presidents' Athletic Conference wrestler of the week recently as he wrestled to a perfect 3-0 record at the Waynesburg duals. He earned pin victories against Wilkes' Bryan Welch (0.52) and Mike Cicio of Rochester Institute of Technology (0.54) while also taking a 12-5 decision over Joe Wise of Muskingum.