Jimmy's uses Superbowl Sunday to raise scholarship funds

By Joe Bennett

February 3, 2013 Updated Feb 4, 2013 at 12:57 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- For the past 30 years on Superbowl Sunday, Jimmy's Bar in West Peoria takes money from sales and donations to build a scholarship for a high school student.

The money is raised through a memorial for former Jimmy's employee Mike McLaughlin, who died in 1982.

This is the first year they will also give the recipient the Kelly Needham Award.

Needham died in a car accident last August and was also a Jimmy's employee.

"It's amazing it's lasted for thirty years," says Mike McLaughlin's brother Kevin. "It just shows you the characteristics of what mike stood for and what Kelly stood for, and come Superbowl Sunday we get together. His old friends from high school are still coming 31 years later."

Jimmy Spears recalls how the scholarship started.

"Our first scholarship we gave away was $400.00, and then it increased," Spears says. "And now the last several years we've given a $5,000.00 scholarship."

The McLaughlin Scholarship and Needham Award will be given to a graduating senior from Peoria Notre Dame High School.

A board committee will decide on a recipient later this year.

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