New Brighton resident Mia Wilson, left, of Curtis High School and Dongan Hills resident Vin Gioe of Susan Wagner HS, are the inaugural winners of the Dom LaBargo Memorial Scholarship Award. Staten Island Advance/Bill Lyons
DONGAN HILLS -- There’s no doubt that Dom LaBargo is known as one of Staten Island’s best bowlers.
In fact, LaBargo was an inductee in the Staten Island Bowling Hall of Fame, the Staten Island United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame, the New York Bowling Association Hall of Fame and a 2011 inductee into the Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame.
However, besides excelling at the sport, the former lifelong Staten Islander who lived in Tompkinsville, Stapleton and Grant City was known as a true gentleman.
So after the bowling great passed away in September 2011, the LaBargo family decided to do something to commemorate his life.
“My sister Jean (Callan) and I came up with an idea to have a bowl-a-thon in his memory. And we had to figure out what to do with the money. Her and I sat down with (Rab’s Country Lanes proprietor) Frank Wilkinson and came up with the idea of a scholarship,” said LaBargo’s son, Joe.
“Then it came to whom did we want to give the money to. The kids with the highest averages get plenty of money. Since my father was a sportsman and everyone loved him, we came up with giving it to the kids,” he added. “We asked people who know them most and we got input from them about who’s the best kids. We wanted the kids who don’t get mad after a bad shot and kids who don’t curse and things like that.
“So basically, it’s a sportsmanship award as opposed to a high average or a high game,” said LaBargo.
Apparently, finding people to participate in the event at Rab’s wasn’t a hard task.
“Besides his family that attended, his sister who is 91-years-old came out with her family plus his friends were there. The place was packed all afternoon. Friends and family from all over New York and New Jersey came out for it,” said LaBargo’s son.
Selected as the inaugural winners of the $500 Dom LaBargo Memorial Scholarship Award were Susan Wagner senior and Dongan Hills resident Vin Gioe and Curtis sophomore and New Brighton resident Mia Wilson.
“It’s terrific. It’s the best way to keep his memory alive. Besides his family, bowling is what he lived for,” said LaBargo. “He would be very proud that we’re doing this from him.”
The two youth bowlers received their honors at the annual Staten Island Bowling Hall of Fame Dinner this past weekend at the Staaten Restaurant in West Brighton. The dinner was also where Joe LaBargo received the Ben McNevich Award for lifetime service to the sport.
“We’ve very proud. This was Frankie’s idea to have it awarded out at the dinner and I want to thank him for doing that and all the help he’s given us,” said LaBargo.
For those bowlers who want to continue to honor LaBargo’s legacy or just support the cause, the next bowl-a-thon to raise funds for the scholarship will be Aug. 25 at Rab’s.