Broncos Receive STAR Award

KALAMAZOO — The Western Michigan University football team was recognized for its community service this morning at the 2003 STAR Awards Breakfast, held at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo. The event was presented by the Volunteer Center of Greater Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Gazette. Now in its 16th year, STAR — Sharing Time and Resources — honors volunteer community service by individuals and groups.

The Football Broncos were honored in the College Volunteer Group category for their work with the Kalamazoo Valley Chapter of Habitat for Humanity and other service projects. WMU football players spent three months last summer repairing a decrepit house in the Hawley neighborhood so that it could be suitable for living again. The team worked in two shifts twice a week until the project was completed in July.

Gary Darnell's squad also continued its hospital visitation program last fall, visiting the children's ward at Bronson Methodist Hospital on Fridays of home games. Coordinated by Sandra Darnell, groups of Bronco players took part in games and activities with the young patients.

WMU gridders recently held a charitable car wash with donations going to The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kalamazoo. In three years of conducting the event, the team has raised $1,500. "The STAR Award is a great honor for our program, and we certainly don't view it as a competition," said Darnell. "We take part in these activities because it's the right thing to do." "The community has taken our program in, and it's important for us to give back in a meaningful way. It's part of the overall collegiate experience for our student-athletes."

The Bronco football team is the second WMU athletic squad to receive a STAR Award. Bill Wilkinson's hockey team was honored in the Youth Volunteer Group in 1989 for its work with the Kalamazoo Domestic Assault Program and Michigan Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Broncos Illustrated Top Stories