Hometown Hero A.J. Starr’s is a step in the right direction in establishing a foundation to help support cerebral palsy – over 300 plus Cherokee County supporters packed the Recreational Outreach Center on Saturday for the “A.J. Hometown Kickoff”
The bill for the event included a number of guest speakers ranging from A.J.’s former teachers and classmates even former Alabama Crimson Tide standout Rudy Griffin.
The guest speaker was Rudy Griffin, former football player at the University of Alabama.
Starr was born with cerebral palsy, yet learned to drive a farm tractor and started helping his family cultivate their land at an early age. The disease was more of a hurdle to him than something standing in his way.
Albert Neal Starr, AJ’s Father serves as the executive director of “The Real A.J. Foundation,” which is the official name of the foundation that is being organized.
AJ’s interest in the University Of Alabama Crimson Tide opened the door to what has become a dream that has been dubbed “The Real A.J. Foundation” and has its own website.
Starr became involved with the football program after he became fast friends with another A.J. – A.J. McCarron, former Crimson Tide star quarterback.
McCarron saw Starr trying to hail a bus on a rainy day, and he watched, as not one but two buses pulled away leaving the young man in the pouring rain;
McCarron offered him a ride and that led to a firm friendship – one which also led to Starr becoming involved in the sports program.
McCarron contacted Joe Pannunzio, Director of Football Operations, and he arranged for Starr to come on-board as overseer of the equipment room, helping to get everything ready for the game.
A.J. McCarron says Starr is an inspiration to all the players on the team – stating (quote) “Here’s a kid who’s been through all these obstacles and he still wakes up smiling every day and ready to go work…I feel like he’s given me more than I could ever give him.” (end-quote).