*The following write-up/picture is the latest edition of our monthly volunteer spotlight of volunteers in the Westfield Rec. Dept. We are blessed in the Rec. Dept. to have so many wonderful people who do and have volunteered their time both now and, in the past, to make our department and programs/events what they are today. We want to say THANK YOU! To nominate someone for volunteer spotlight, please send us a private message on Facebook or call/text Andrew at 753-6842.
Our volunteer spotlight for January is Mike & Sarah Burnett. Mike and Sarah have been volunteering in the Rec. Dept. for the last five years. In that time, they have coached multiple seasons of both indoor and outdoor soccer, as well as our 1st grades youth basketball clinic. In addition to the coaching that they have done in the Rec. Dept., they have also coached in the Westfield Little League program as well as other local youth sports programs. If you know Mike and Sarah, then you know that Mike is one-of-a-kind hilarious, and that somehow Sarah can put up with him (just kidding Mike!). In their true sense of humor, Mike and Sarah had this to say about their early coaching days: “We started coaching soccer when our daughter was two. We use the term “coaching” loosely because it was more like herding small farm animals. We were both coaching multiple high school sports at the time, so the transition to little kicker soccer was humbling and interesting. But we can tell you, just seeing the cohort of kids grow and develop over the last few years has been immensely rewarding and we would encourage everyone to coach a season. It is a great experience.”
Regarding what their favorite program is, Mike and Sarah said “We had our first chance to coach the basketball program this year. Personally, this was our favorite experience because we got to “play” with our kids doing the sport we both grew up playing and loving. We do have to give a special shout out to the parents at the clinics who played in our parent-kid game. It was fun to see the smiles on kids faces as their parents dunked on them. But nothing compares to the highlight of the clinics as when Coach Ty Harper (Coach of CSP Varsity Football and winner of two state championships) played along and autographed pictures for the kids. We are truly blessed to be a part of a great group of parents and friends which are dedicated to bringing fun and opportunities to the kids of our little communities.”
Mike and Sarah really put all of themselves into their coaching and volunteering. They spend a lot of time, money, and energy on making a difference not just in their own kids’ lives, but in so many kids’ lives. When asked why they volunteer, they said the following “We volunteer because someone did the same for us as kids. We both had parents who set wonderful examples of coaching and supporting our involvement in sports, and we simply want to pay it forward the best we can. Our kids love the programs that the Recreation Department coordinates. We look forward to each season and just want to do our small part like so many other parents and volunteers do.” While we certainly admire Mike and Sarah’s humility, they are most definitely playing a much larger part in our programs and in the kids in our programs’ lives.
Both Mike and Sarah have illustrious athletic backgrounds. Both excelled at numerous sports in high school, with Mike playing collegiate baseball and Sarah playing collegiate basketball. Sarah even left Daemen University as their all-time leading scorer and was inducted into the Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame earlier this year. Both have coached multiple sports at the high school level as well. Despite all that athletic pedigree and great volume of success, the most impressive things about Mike and Sarah, are their personalities and how much they care about kids and making a difference in their lives, as well as teaching them how to do things the right way. As good as athletes as they are, they are even better people. No one has made our youth coaches drafts/meetings more interesting than Mike and I have never seen more interesting drills done in both basketball and soccer then I have when Mike and Sarah are coaching. They truly are special people, and we are so lucky to have them coaching in our program. More than anything, they make our programs fun, and that is priceless. Thanks Mike and Sarah!
In true Mike Burnett fashion, he added a few more words of wisdom to be added in the article. “Most people think we coach for the fame and money. And that is part of it. But the biggest motivation is our quest to win the Recreation Department championship and bring home the trophy. We really think this year is our year. On a more serious note, we really do all owe Andrew a special level of gratitude for the time and effort he puts in. None of this could or would happen without his selflessness and dedication. That we truly do mean, and it makes our little community the envy of so many other small towns.” As mentioned before, Mike truly is one-of-a-kind hilarious. We really appreciate his kind words and as we always say, we are so blessed to have a Rec. Dept. and to have so many AMAZING volunteers that make the programs what they are.
Past Volunteer Spotlights:
July 2020: Christian Caballero
August 2020: Carol Reynolds
September 2020: Don Parker
October 2020: Luci Petrella
November 2020: John Emmons
December 2020: The Baum Family (Chris, Shannon, Mason, and Logan)
January 2021: Chris Anderson
February 2021: Roger Miller
March 2021: The Dellow Family (Wade, Wendy, Hunter, and Haleigh)
April 2021: Jim Van Dyke
May 2021: Josh & Amy Belcher
June 2021: Gavin Emery
August 2021: Roxanne Baideme
September 2021: James “Shaggy” Ruch
October 2021: Dave Walker
November 2021: Chris Chasse
December 2021: Josh Freifeld