Now that’s Community Spirit

Mike Starrs  Resized 01Michael Starrs was to be presented with the highest award bestowed upon a volunteer by the Boys and Girls Club of America, the “Man and Youth Award” and the “Service to Youth Award” for 30 years of service at the Northwest New Jersey Chapter’s 18th Annual Dinner Dance held recently. Unfortunately, just days before the big event, Mr. Starrs, fondly known by many as “Coach,” was admitted to St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital in his hometown of Wayne, NJ. His special evening was rapidly approaching and Coach simply wasn’t feeling well enough to receive this special honor in person.

Fortunately, the staff at St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital, a division of St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, is committed to caring for each patient – mind, body and spirit. St. Joseph’s employees, from Nursing and Information Technology to Public Relations, worked together to connect Mr. Starrs to the event being held in his honor at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park – more than 6 miles from Mr. Starrs’ bed at St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital.

As the awards segment of the program began, David Unger, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Boys and Girls Club of Wayne, announced that Honoree Coach Mike Starrs was unable to attend the event. As he addressed the audience, suddenly a video image of Coach popped up on the large screen behind Mr. Unger.

“You didn’t think I would actually miss the biggest party of the year, did you?” asked Coach, enthusiastically praising St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital staff for making his presence via video-teleconferencing the perfect connection from his hospital bed to the awards ceremony.Mike Starrs Resized 02

Justin Shakil, Boys and Girls Club Alumnus and radio sports broadcaster for SiriusXM Satellite Radio and WCBS Newsradio 880, presented Mr. Starrs with the award, but not without words that moved everyone. Besides Mr. Starrs’ dedication to the Boys and Girls Club, Mr. Shakil reminisced about the first time he ever met Mike Starrs, a man he described as “the type of person who made you want to work hard.”Assemblyman Scott Rumana presented a Joint Legislative Resolution to Coach Michael Starrs on behalf of Senator O’Toole, Assemblyman Russo and himself.

Wayne resident, Mr. Starrs, commitment to developing youth began almost 40 years ago when he started coaching Youth Football in the Packanack Lake community of Wayne. As the local Boys and Girls Club grew, Coach joined the team. Every year, since 1978, Mr. Starrs volunteered his time for various levels of football squads, primarily at the Pee Wee level, and also served as football commissioner. In 1987, he was honored as the NJ Area Council State Volunteer of the Year. Mr. Starrs was one of the coaches selected as the USA Football Youth Coach of the year in 2006. In addition, he was elected to the Boys & Girls Clubs of New Jersey Hall of Fame. Mr. Starrs has volunteered his time as a member of the Board of Directors since 1986, serving in many capacities – president, vice president, as well as chairing the marketing and program committees.

Coach Mike Starrs is devoted to enriching the community through the activities of the Boys and Girls Club.

St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital staff understands Coach’s commitment. With passion for St. Joseph’s “patients first” approach to service excellence and with dedication to the Healthcare System’s Mission and Values, St. Joseph’s staff truly enriched Michael Starrs’ healing process by fulfilling his wish to accept his award “in person” at the 18th Annual Boys and Girls Clubs of Northwest New Jersey Dinner Dance held in his honor.

Community spirit is thriving in Wayne!

March 15, 2016

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