By RICH KELLY
For the Star Beacon
In the summer of 2011, Paulette Timko Probst, herself the victim of domestic violence and living under a restraining order from her estranged husband, Tom, came to good friend Robbi Zakowski with an idea. Her idea was to generate income for their women’s group, “Women Helping Women.”
“She told me,” Zakowski said, “that we could hold a craft show in the barn at my parents’ farm and we could serve concessions ourselves to generate money to donate for women and children from battered homes. That has developed into the passion for our group.”
From the first annual craft show at Fullercrest, at 6415 Windsor-Mechanicsville Road in Orwell, south of Route 6, in December 2011, to the 3rd event this coming Sept. 28 and 29, much has been done to help local social organizations by the group.
“We’ve had some success so far,” Zakowski said, “but Paulette’s idea for concessions enables us to keep doing more.”
In late August 2011, Probst was murdered by her late husband.
“We had many vendors already signed up when Paulette was murdered,” Zakowski said. “We feel this is a more than fitting tribute to her memory in supporting women and children involved in domestic violence.”
Although far into the future, the Women Helping Women group would like to aid in getting a law passed in Ohio to force domestic violence perpetrators to be forced to wear Global Positioning System (GPS) anklets to control their whereabouts and to give potential victims and law enforcement advance warning, with the hope to head off possible events like the murder of Probst.
The 3rd annual Christmas in the Barn at Fullercrest takes place Sept. 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sept. 29 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are 30 vendors signed up so far for personal crafting sales inside the huge barn on the premises, and 10 commercial vendors set up for tents outside.
“We want people to buy locally and to buy American,” Zakowski said. “It’s important to put our money back into local pockets, too.”
There will be craft items, gift items, and food concessions available both days.
“We had done this before just before Christmas,” Zakowski said, “but we wanted to do it earlier this year to have warmer weather and, hopefully, dryer weather too.”
She also gave special thanks to Cathy Moore and Terri Thompson for decorating the barn, and to Joyce Hendrickson, who did yeoman’s work in locating vendors.
“The only things we don’t have yet is someone to make and sell kettle corn,” Zakowski said. “That was a special thing that Paulette really enjoyed, so if you make kettle corn, please join us.”
Fullercrest was Zakowski’s home growing up as a girl. With both her parents now deceased, Zakowski is using its legacy to make life a little better for as many as possible.