CLARION – Throughout his approximately 30 years at the Captain Loomis Bar and Restaurant, former general manager Ed Flannigan became something of a Clarion fixture. From the early 1980s through its sale by the Troese family in 2009, Flannigan was one of the faces of the establishment, a front man always ready to welcome customers.
Restaurateur Dana Troese, owner of Daddy’s Main Street in Clarion and chef and director of operations at the Captain Loomis during Flannigan’s tenure, said, “He knew every customer that came into the Loomis. He was very, very upbeat and friendly 100 percent of the time. He always hugged you; women he always kissed on the cheek.
“He loved the college. He loved the bar business. He was terrifically devoted to the Loomis as a place to meet, a place to eat. He recognized it as part of the community,” Troese said.
Flannigan passed away unexpectedly in January 2016 following a sudden illness, a loss felt by all the people he had touched.
Now one of his former employees, Jeremy Borkowski, a partner and manager at Clarion River Brewing Company (CRBC), has created a scholarship to honor Flannigan’s memory.
“I worked for him back when I was in college, 2003-2006. (He was) just a really good person. He was part of our community for so long, the kind of figure you want to see. He was all about customer service. Just a friendly face and that’s kind of what we want to emulate in our restaurant,” Borkowski said.
“He could also be very stern and strict. He had expectations. He had a strong work ethic and he really pushed people to be better.”
Announced in mid-August on CRBC’s Facebook page, the Edward J. Flannigan Memorial Scholarship will provide funds to a Clarion University student who has accumulated at least 18 credits at that institution with plans to continue his/her education there. “It doesn’t matter where they’re from (the student), but we want to keep the money in the community, obviously at the university,” Borkowski explained.
This year’s scholarship recipient will receive $500. The money was raised at a Halloween party in 2018. “We did our first Halloween party last year and what we did was we did a $5 cover charge. And we put the money together and the brewery matched that. So that’s what we are going to be doing at our next Halloween party (Oct. 26). What we’ll be able to do is start making money for next year,” Borkowski said.
The decision to raise funds for the scholarship at a Halloween party was no accident. “If you knew Ed, he was obsessed with Halloween. He had some crazy, sometimes edgy costumes. So I thought it was fitting that we were able to do the Halloween party as kind of a fundraiser for him, in his honor,” Borkowski said.
Applicants are required to complete an online application in which they provide information on their education, campus and community involvement, and employment history. They must also write an essay, “Clarion, your second home,” discussing how the borough has helped facilitate their academic and personal success. The essay will be used in the event a tie-breaker is needed.
The scholarship recipient will be selected by a five person committee comprised of a CRBC representative, representative of Clarion University’s Campus (Student) life, a university faculty member, an elected borough official, and a friend or relative of Flannigan’s. At this time only the university faculty member has been named, Lacey A. Fulton, an assistant professor in the Department of Communications. Fulton serves as the chairperson of her department’s scholarship committee and has worked with CRBC to provide university students with experience relevant to the professional use of social media.
Applications are due by Sept. 30 at 11:59 p.m. No purchase is necessary and only one application will be accepted per person. Scholarship recipients will be announced the week before Halloween and then asked to attend CRBC’s annual Halloween party. Interested individuals can access an application at www.clarionriverbrew.com/scholarship.