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Jeffrey Horowitz wasn t much of a jock growing up, but as an adult he has found his niche coaching for Special Olympics and refereeing soccer games.

The activities help him stay in shape and have fun, said Horowitz, a 1994 University graduate who s now assistant director of residential life. Horowitz, who lives in Vestal with his wife and daughter, also helps lead religious services at Temple Israel.

Horowitz attended Special Olympics events as a kid because his sister participated as an athlete. Years later, he picked up the phone to find out how to volunteer and ended up coaching the training club that meets at the Boys and Girls Club in Endicott.

The club s 50 athletes, who range in age from 16 to 70, have a wide variety of disabilities. They meet one evening a week from September to May and participate in soccer, bowling, volleyball, basketball, swimming and track and field.

Our goal is really to help them play the same sports anybody else does without getting hurt,  Horowitz said. They re there for the same reason you are: to have fun. 

Horowitz has been involved as a coach since 2000. During the past three years, he also served as head coach for the 10-person regional basketball team that went to the state games.

In 1999, campus colleague Paul Stroud told Horowitz about his part-time job as a soccer referee. It sounded like a fun way to earn a little more money, and Horowitz soon began refereeing youth, high school and adult recreational league games.

It s fun and challenging,  Horowitz said. There s a lot of running involved, a lot of movement, a lot of judgment. You learn to make the call the way you saw it. 

Both coaching and refereeing have contributed to Horowitz s work in some ways. He has learned lessons about how to motivate people and how to trust others to complete a project without direct supervision.

I think you understand the importance of creating a team,  he said.

Day job: assistant director of residential life Off-campus groups: Special Olympics and soccer referee Get involved: Learn more abSpecial Olympics or by calling John and Gae Crosby, local Special Olympics coordinators, at 687-2957.

Learn more about the Triple Cities Soccer Officials Association at or the Binghamton Group Soccer Referees at

C. Michael Mercincavage, executive director of Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence, helps lead the United Way of Broome County s annual fundraising campaign along with numerous other volunteers.

Mercincavage grew up in Binghamton and received a bachelor s degree in mechanical engineering at Clarkson University. A Vietnam veteran, he worked for the Avionic Controls Department of General Electric before embarking on a 25-year career with IBM Corp.

Mercincavage earned a master s degree from Binghamton while working at IBM. He left the company in 1995 to take the helm of the newly created Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence, which offers technical support to small and mid-sized companies.

Lyle Feisel, then dean of the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, soon approached Mercincavage about becoming an account manager for the United Way. Account managers go to businesses and seek financial commitments in support of the United Way s campaign.

Mercincavage eventually became the vice chairman for the business group that includes retail and manufacturing. In that role, his main job is to be a cheerleader for the account managers and division chairs who solicit corporate gifts from retail and manufacturing firms in Broome County.

He s also involved in presenting awards to companies that meet certain criteria and helps to set the yearly campaign goal.

The duties claim some of Mercincavage s time from March or April through November, but he s modest about the work that he does. It s not a lot of time,  he said. And this is work you feel good about. 

Mercincavage said he has been impressed both by the work the United Way s member agencies do and with the community s commitment to helping the less fortunate. He noted that this year even businesses that were harmed by the June floods have maintained their plans for corporate giving.

It s a really generous community,  he said, and you see that when you get involved in something like this. Day job: executive director, SPIR

Off-campus group: United Way of Broome County

Get involved: Visit or contact the Voluntary Action Center at 729-2592 or
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Last Updated: 10/14/08