After 34 years as adaptive P.E. specialist at Rafer Johnson Children’s Center Jim Wooster in hanging up his whistle. The impact he's made – especially his Coach's Choice Track Meet – is immeasurable.
“They enjoy it,” Wooster told 23ABC, “they have a great time but it builds some memories and it puts thoughts in their head of physical activity. They come back to me now and say I remember running in that 5K or being in the coach's choice track meet and it teaches them that we're all the same.”
One child who wanted to reconnect after more than 15 years is Misty Diaz. The two met at a local coffee shop earlier this year. Born with Spina Bifida, Diaz has come further than anyone could have imagined thanks in large part to her old coach.
“Today I am proud to say I am a half marathon runner with Spina Bifida,” Diaz proudly explained, “out of every 2,800 children, someone is born with Spina Bifida. It literally means open spine. He would take the time and work with me and I do remember when I wanted to give up he would always say just give me one more, come on you've got to give me one more.”
Although Wooster finally crossed the finish line on December 20th of this year, the baton has already been passed to countless others.
“I get messages from people all over the world saying, I have a child with Spina Bifida,” Diaz said, “they want to know how I'm able to do what I do.”
Misty Diaz is helping others in her own unique way. If there's one lesson Kern County's most inspirational coach has to pass along it's for everyone to find their own way to inspire.
“Everyone has to do their part,” Wooster explained, “everybody's got to do something. Hope that somebody hears you and understands and goes on with their quest to do as well as they can.”
You can find Misty Diaz on Facebook and at www.YouTube.com/MistyDiaz2121