Sterling House gives awards in honor of Diaz, Jockers

By Stratford Star on December 28, 2016

The 21st annual Debbie Diaz Sportsmanship and Erin Jockers Friends of Sterling House awards were given out by Sterling House Community Center at a special ceremony held on Dec. 8.

Since 1996, the Sterling House athletic program had honored both Debbie Diaz, a special volunteer and friend of the agency who was a player and referee, and Erin Jockers. Both died in a fatal car accident in fall 1993.

In describing the Diaz awards, Sterling House Athletic Director Bill O’Brien noted, “Debbie brought something special into every game. During the seven years that Debbie spent in Stratford, her special grace shone in everything she did — in school, in church and community as well as sports.

“Her love of fun, her enthusiasm and her dedication are still contagious today.”

In all, 10 individuals were recognized with Debbie Diaz Sportsmanship Awards for 2016, including Michael Trovarelli, lacrosse player; Gwyn Estrella, lacrosse player; John Karafa, basketball, lacrosse and soccer coach; Joe Jimenez, soccer coach; Bryan Generous, basketball coach; Chris Antrum, soccer referee; Logan Seaburg, soccer referee; Brian Mayglothling; lacrosse coach; Chuck Threshie, lacrosse coach; and, Susanna Mellen, soccer coach.

Diaz’s parents, Dago and Claudia Diaz, thanked everyone in attendance, and Sterling House, “for this wonderful tribute. Throughout all these years, she continues to touch the lives and hearts of many.

“Congratulations to the 2016 recipients and a special thank-you for each of the gifts you share as a team member, community, family and friends.”

In memory of Jockers, the following received Erin Jockers Friends of Sterling House Awards: Dan Root of Halle’s Hope; Lalo Patel, 7-11 Paradise Green, and Nicole Richards, Stratford Emergency Medical Service Explorer Post 4911, an emergency medical services-oriented youth organization sponsored by the Connecticut Yankee Council of the Boy Scouts of America and chartered by Stratford EMS.

Sterling House Community Center Executive Director Amanda Meeson thanked everyone for coming, especially the award winners, as did Tom and Linda Jockers, who expressed their “appreciation to Sterling House for keeping Debbie and Erin forever in your hearts.”