STAR Program is Recognized

STAR Program is Recognized
Posted on 03/09/2020
STAR Program is Recognized

STAR Program is Recognized by City Managers

Washington Township’s efforts to support the needs of vulnerable residents through its STAR Program have earned the Annual Award for Innovation in Local Government from the Ohio City Manager’s Association.  

STAR is the brainchild of retired Deputy Sheriff Jeff Gray who coordinates the program as a part-time employee at Washington Township’s Rec West Enrichment Center for senior adults. While working at the Washington Township Substation of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Gray encountered many people, most of them elderly, who were struggling with issues that threatened their independence. Most lived alone, many did not have family or friends to help, and all could have fallen under the radar if not for an alert deputy. 

STAR Program participantGray took it upon himself to visit them between calls and help with everything from home safety and repairs to swindles and financial insecurity. Many tasks, like installing grab bars, Gray did himself. Others required referrals to the social service network. However, in all cases, he was a caring, trusted friend for people who were isolated, alone and vulnerable. 

As more people in need were identified, Washington Township began the STAR program (Safeguarding Township Adult Residents) in 2016. Gray now makes regular visits to check on the welfare of more than 100 residents and ensure that each person receives the best possible response from first responders. This includes prominently displayed emergency medical forms; front door lock boxes; and information that is entered into the regional dispatch system.

“Having medical information readily available has been a game changer for our fire department, particularly when responding to calls where an individual is unresponsive,” said Township Administrator Jesse Lightle. “Hundreds of vulnerable residents are now more safe and secure thanks to the STAR Program.” Gray helps not only with many tangible challenges, but with the intangible need for a caring human relationship, she added. Each participant receives a birthday card and a cake discounted by DLM, a gift and card at the holidays, and an invitation to two annual parties subsidized by Kroger.