December 19, 2014

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Proceeds at Ridgeville eatery benefit memorial fund

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The outpouring of support for the family of Alex Sismour, a local teen who died of injuries sustained in a Sept. 10 accident, continues thanks to the efforts of classmates and a local restaurant.

Anyone who presents a special flier between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. Wednesday at the Fiesta Jalapenos  restaurant on Center Ridge Road will have 20 percent of their bill donated to the Alex Sismour Memorial Fund. Set up by the boy’s family, the fund is to support creation of a college scholarship for a North Ridgeville graduate.

The daylong event, billed Alex Sismour Memorial Night, is the work of the restaurant and the DECA program at North Ridgeville High School, where the 14-year-old had just started classes as a freshman.

Sarah Parker, adviser for the DECA program, is a marketing education course offered to juniors and seniors through the Lorain County Joint Vocational School, talked about what led to the decision to mount the fundraiser.

“Alex was the brother of a senior DECA member the past two years, Andrew Sismour, and I had the opportunity to meet his mom on a few occasions,” Parker said. “We worked closely together to get his employment to work around his sports schedule.”

Andrew, 18, a senior, is captain of the high school soccer team and a varsity basketball player.

“A lot of these kids have grown up with Andrew, and a lot of them have been over to the house (since Alex died),” Parker said. “Many of them also knew Alex.”

Alex Sismour died Sept. 10 of multiple injuries after he was struck by a minivan while riding his bicycle across state Route 57 at East Broad Street. The boy was riding across the busy road with a group of friends when the accident occurred. The woman driving the van was not cited.

“There was such a community outpouring,” Parker said. “The whole (DECA) class was at the funeral. And there were so many kids absent that day who were there with their parents. It’s still hard to talk about.”

Two days after Sismour died, hundreds of high school students wore black to classes in the boy’s memory, and hundreds lined Center Ridge Road to release balloons in his honor during a funeral procession later that week.

The idea for the Fiesta Jalapenos fundraiser sprang from a similar event there last year for a North Ridgeville Middle School teacher who took time off to care for his son who had cancer. That fundraiser produced more than $1,000, Parker said.

The DECA students have talked about making the Sismour fundraiser an annual event, Parker said.

“This one might be even bigger,” she said. “The restaurant told us they could handle it with no problem, as long as people get in and out. It’s a way we can remember Alex.”

Money raised will go into a special bank account created by Alex’s parents, Brian and Doreen, at US Bank in North Ridgeville, to establish a memorial scholarship.

Patrons to the restaurant must present a copy of the fundraiser flier, which can be downloaded from www.nrcs.k12.oh.us. Fliers are also available at the high school.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.