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Honorary Captain Program Announced

May 8, 1997

By Andrew Mason
Content Editor

TAMPA - In a press conference on the Astroturf field of the Ice Palace on Thursday afternoon, Storm coach/general manager Tim Marcum announced that the team will honor heroes from the Tampa Bay area and surrounding communities at all home games this season.

The Storm will select one hero per home game, and they will be named honorary captain for that particular game. For their deeds, the hero will be recognized in a ceremony at halftime of each week's game.

"We want to be a positive part of this community, and we want to do things like that to help the community," Marcum said.

The entire squad joined Marcum at a podium set up on the 25-yard-line for the announcment. Marcum, known more for his often-passionate tirades at officials and for his blunt, get-to-the-point style of coaching, held back tears as he told media and some fans about Justin Whaley, a boy from Pasco County selected as the honorary captain for the Orlando game on May 17.

In April, Justin's family was in an automobile accident on U.S. 41 in Land O'Lakes that set their van aflame. Martha Overstreet, Justin's mother, got out of the car along with Justin, but Jason Peoples, Justin's brother, was confined to a wheelchair and unable to get out of the van. However, Justin went back into the van and pulled his brother to safety just seconds before flames consumed the vehicle.

The family was safe, but the van was destroyed. So after relating the story, Marcum had a surprise announcement for Whaley, Overstreet and Peoples---that the van sitting inside the 10-yard-line on the field was a gift from the Storm and Fox Auto Sales of Lakeland.

Jason, while thrilled at the gift for his family, also showed an impeccable sense of timing, asking Marcum, "Where's my keys?" immediately after Marcum announced the donation. But even he was eventually rendered speechless by the gift.

"Mrs. Overstreet, thank you for raising your sons in a loving environment, for helping them understand the true value of human life," Marcum said, his voice choking with emotion. "Justin, thank you for your unselfish sacrifice, and thank you for being our hero to the club."

Blane Fox of Fox Auto Sales teamed up with the Storm to give Overstreet the van, which Marcum termed an "early Mother's Day present." Because the team wanted to get the family the new van as soon as possible, they gave it to them on Thursday, even though Justin's night as honorary captain was still nine days away. The team will re-enact the ceremony for the fans at the Ice Palace during the game with Orlando on May 17.

"I told Ron [Myers, vice-president of operations for the Storm] that we might as well give them the van so they can use it," Marcum said.

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