• janetbanks submitted a contest entry to Group logo of Write a letter or poem about your favorite day of 2023Write a letter or poem about your favorite day of 2023 2 months ago

    “Weeping may endure for a night But joy cometh in the morning.”

    25 December 2023
    Christmas Day

    “Weeping may endure for a night
    But joy cometh in the morning.”

    Psalm 30:5

    My Dearest Sean:

    As I was reading our friend Lauren Brill’s website, the community was invited to reflect upon and write a letter about our favorite day of 20
    23. Sounds easy, right? Sometimes, as we enter the holy season of Christmas each year, we often reflect on the totality of the year. However, as a grieving mother, I found myself a bit challenged to write this missive as just 18 months, 13 days ago, you left this earth and transcended through the clouds, the galaxies, and the stars and onto God’s Paradise. It almost feels like a betrayal to feel joy but the reading of Psalm 30:5 lifts our spirit to do otherwise.

    After much reflection, I chose Wednesday, 23 August as the day and date as the single day that brought much joy and therefore my favorite day of 2023. This summer day was the selected day that the inaugural Sean Scott Strother Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser was held. The scholarship was created in loving memory of you as a beloved son and amazing father. Additionally, you were such a “teckie” and enjoyed all that technology had to offer and that was manifested in your home life, your professional career as a software solutions engineer and in your extracurricular activities, including using technology to track biking with GPS. So it was apropos that we had envisioned a bright future for young scholars who plan to pursue a career in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) field, with College Now Greater Cleveland Inc. managing the fund.

    The event Committee consisted of members of your family and dear friends. We had methodically and meticulously planned out all of the details for an outside event on The Bluff at a venue along the breathtaking shores of Cleveland’s beautiful Lake Erie! We were ecstatic!

    Thumbs up! The day prior to the event, we checked the weather forecast and had expected good weather on Wednesday. However, on the day of the event, we woke up to gray skies and gentle rain which progressively became worse. There was significant flash flooding and thunderstorms and the hardest hit areas were along the lakeshore, with five to seven inches of rainfall. You know what I was thinking – that the expected guest list of 50 plus would begin to diminish.

    Good news! As we entered the venue, a young server introduced himself to me and shared an inspiring word. He said, “Is this your event?” I answered affirmatively, apparently with a look of pensiveness. The server continued, “Don’t worry. Your event will be just fine! And, we’ll have a bit sunshine.” Unbeknownst to me, the venue staff had transformed the mansion to accommodate my event to a glorious indoor event! With that, guests who were not deterred by the ferocious storms, gray skies and flooding began to trickle in. Close to 80 individuals joined us – family, friends, colleagues, and your BFFs. Miraculously, at one point during the event, like magic, the sun was shining which afforded our special guests to venture out of the mansion and onto “The Bluff” overlooking the picture perfect Lake Erie. I believe that there was divine intervention. What do you think?

    The fundraiser was awesome and successful! Every single one of your amazing friends, colleagues, family, new friends as well as event staff contributed to the success of this event! They showed up and showed out! Your closest friends created the most amazing silent auction baskets, lovingly entitled “Sean’s Favorite Things.” These unique baskets each reflected things that you enjoyed – Scotch, Date Night Basket, The Edible Art Experience Cookie Basket, Tech, Travel, Mobile Detailing and a magnificent piece of art by a Cleveland artist.

    The keynote speakers, all who knew you personally, shared remarkable stories about your kind attributes, your education at Cuyahoga Community College and its impact on your career and weaved in the importance of education, technology and the STEAM areas as it relates to the economic development of our community. Your unique gift of being able to meet people where they are and go from “the mailroom to the boardroom” was just as important as your technology education.

    We raised over $17K which was 59% over plan. As a result of such a successful fundraiser, in 2024, we will be able to offer a selected scholar from the Cleveland Now Strother Scholarship Fund a renewable annual scholarship!

    August 23, was indeed my favorite day!

    Sean, your influence is enduring as well as impactful.

    I love you dearly and you are missed immensely.

    All my Love,
    (Janet Banks)

    The Strother Scholarship Fund

    Sean Scott Strother was born on Valentine’s Day 1982 during an era of the creation and proliferation of the first personal computer, the release of Nintendo, Game Boy, and the rise of the Sony Walkman. Sean’s expanded curiosity into the world of technology began with the arrival and opening of large box, designed with the iconic rainbow apple, containing the hot Apple IIgs, a powerful personal computer! With that, began his successful foray into the field of technology and its impact as well as application in everyday life.
    Sean attended Lutheran High School East and graduated from Cleveland Heights High School. Sean served in the Ohio Army National Guard First Battalion. 145th Armor Company while pursuing an Associate degree in applied science from Cuyahoga Community College. While employed as a lifeguard at Beachwood High School, Sean was offered the opportunity to join Tremco, Inc. as an intern and later as a desktop support technician. From there, and with increased responsibilities, he joined Novelis, and Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. Sean achieved his life’s career goals, by obtaining his dream job at BMC, a Global Software Company, as a Senior Solutions Engineer.

    Sean was a proud dad and loved being a “Girl Dad” to his beautiful girls – Jada and Chloe; stepdaughters, Kamari and Kaliyah. One of Sean’s proudest achievements was raising funds to fight childhood cancers through the Great Cycle Challenge with his employer BMC Inc. team members where he was one of the top fundraisers. Sean was passionate about the Great Cycle Challenge because it enabled him to do what he loved to do, cycle, and raise funds to end childhood cancer and save little lives. Sean earned the respect of his colleagues who shared that he “was extremely smart, dedicated, super fun to be around and overall great person.” Sean had a unique quality in that everyone with whom he came in contact felt special, family, friends and strangers alike.

    Applicants for the Strother Scholarship Fund must attend a College Now served high school in Northeast Ohio and graduate in the spring of 2024. The selected student will receive up to $2500 annually. This scholarship is renewable.

    Mom (Janet Banks)

    Voting is open!

    Voting ends December 4, 2024 12:00am

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    • Janet, this letter is absolutely beautiful. You capture both your love for your son, as well as the strength and grace you’ve shown in your grief. I think Sean had a lot of you in him in terms of the way you both deal with adversity and find positivity in the most difficult circumstances. I am certain there was some intervention that day and I am even more certain that Sean is smiling down on you, thinking that his mom is everything he thought she was and more as he watches you use your pain and Sean’s memory to help other people. Just as Sean was, you are a gem to us all. I love you.<3 Lauren

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