John Regan, executive vice president of Investors Bank, presents a check for $5,000 to Sam Jarmer. Proceeds will assist the Jarmer family with medical expenses they incurred as well as for needs to help make St. Rose High School more accessible for physically challenged students.
John Regan, executive vice president of Investors Bank, presents a check for $5,000 to Sam Jarmer. Proceeds will assist the Jarmer family with medical expenses they incurred as well as for needs to help make St. Rose High School more accessible for physically challenged students.

The ongoing flow of prayer and support for Sam Jarmer and his family that began last summer when he was paralyzed in a life guarding accident, continued Jan. 31 at the Jersey Shore Arena in Wall.

PHOTO GALLERY: Ice hockey game to benefit Sam Jarmer

There, on the last night of Catholic Schools Week some 40 hockey players from four high schools in the Diocese including St. Rose, Belmar, where he is a junior, took to the ice. They surrounded Sam and his family in prayer before the start of the Senior Night game that drew crowds of supporters to the facility.

Father Christopher Dayton, parochial vicar of St. Rose Parish, led a prayer for Sam’s ongoing recovery. Students and families from the combined team of St. Rose, Toms River’s Donovan Catholic and Red Bank Catholic, and their rivals, Lawrenceville’s Notre Dame team joined in.

Alicia Force, who helped to organize the benefit, was in the stands when the teams gathered to pray for Sam. She called it the fitting conclusion of Catholic Schools Week. “It’s what Catholic schools do. You pray and pull together and do whatever you can to support Sam and his family.”

As of Feb. 1, the effort has netted $2,300 in contributions, Force said. A check for $5,000 was also presented to the family by John Regan, executive vice president of Investor’s Bank. His son, Timmy, along with Force’s son, Cole, are Sam’s classmates. They had proposed that their Senior Night on the ice be held as a fundraiser for him.

The proceeds will go toward helping with the family’s needs as well as to help to make St. Rose High School more accessible for physically challenged students.

Memorable Meet

While the St. Rose team scored a 7-3 win over rival Notre Dame, it was clear that the real “win” for Sam’s fans was showing how much they care and helping  him with his goal of returning to school for his senior year in September.

From the moment he entered the arena’s vast lobby with his parents, Jessica and Scott, and sister, Molly, 11, a seventh-grader at St. Rose School, Sam was surrounded by fellow students, well-wishers and members of the media, many of whom he greeted with fist bumps.

He explained that with the help of a positive attitude and months of therapy, he can now move his legs, ankles, toes and fingers, far exceeding the initial expectations of some doctors.

“I’ve made a lot of progress,” Sam said as he and his dad waited for the signal to enter the arena. “It’s great to be here and to know how many people support me. I’m doing pretty good.”

His dad said the “support has been very instrumental on keeping Sam on the positive side of things. That’s produced more results.”

“Amazing,” is what his sister Molly called it as she watched the hockey, school and parish communities reach out to her brother. “To have so many people caring for him, it’s great.”

Jessica Jarmer said she was overwhelmed by the sustained support. “From the very beginning,” she said, “St. Rose has focused helping him get back to school.”

Teary-eyed, she shared how moving it was for Sam to be surrounded by hundreds of people praying and offering good wishes. “We all spent a lot of time crying. It was really emotional.”

Peer Support

Coaches from both teams echoed her sentiments.

“It was nice to see the amazing turnout and support for Sam,” said Randall Hering, the coach of the combined schools’ team. “It was a very emotional night. It was great to see both teams come together for prayer prior to the game. The hockey community is small, but when it comes to giving back and supporting others, they have big hearts.”

Notre Dame coach Mike McVey called the game a “beautiful tribute.”

“Hockey is such an emotional and physical game. To see all of these young men and women together for a common cause it what makes this game so special.”

Donations to the Jarmer family fund can be made at https://www.srhsnj.com/support-us/jarmer