MIDLAND Jason Garrett smiled, as he shared a familiar story.
It’s one that’s resonated with the Dallas Cowboys head coach for a while, and as he looked over the podium in front of him and all across a packed ballroom, he saw plenty others stirred and on board with the same, common vision.
With a message about working to make a difference, Garrett spoke and shared stories as the guest speaker at the Bynum Blooms luncheon and fundraiser for Bynum School on Tuesday at Midland Country Club — conveying values and motivations officials said were right in line with those at Bynum, a school in Midland for students with special needs.
“I thought it went great,” Garrett said, just after the luncheon ended. “The Bynum School seems to be really changing a lot of people’s lives out here.
“I had great visits with not only the students who go there, but their families, and it was fun to be here and try to support it.”
Bynum School was first opened as the Developmental Disabilities Center in 1984. Tuesday marked the school’s second annual Bynum Blooms event. Former first lady Laura Bush spoke at the event last year.
“That was awesome. (Garrett) was so nice and so gracious, and we were just thrilled that he could make it here for us today,” said Keri St. John, Bynum School’s head of school for student programs and services.
Garrett closed his speech Tuesday with a telling of a story for which he named his charity organization, Jason Garrett Starfish Charities. In the story, a boy throws beached starfish back into the ocean to save them from drying out, and when a skeptic tells the boy that there are countless starfish on the beach and that he isn’t making a difference by only throwing a few of them, the boy responds by saying he’s making a big difference to the ones he does throw.
It’s a message in line with the vision at Bynum School, which made Garrett a perfect fit to speak Tuesday, St. John said.
“If we can help one student, then we feel like we’re accomplishing our goals,” she said.
Garrett, in turn, said Bynum School is an organization with goals in line with many of his own.
“I think the biggest thing that we’re all trying to do is simply make a difference,” Garrett said. “Sometimes, the problems in the world can seem insurmountable, but the encouragement is to somehow, someway dive in anyway and try to help one of them.
“There’s no question in my mind, from my experience, and knowing about Bynum, they’ve done an amazing job helping a lot of people, individuals and families, over the last 30 or so years. It’s an impressive place.”
Garrett said he just returned to the state on Monday night, after spending a week in Indianapolis for the NFL’s Scouting Combine, where pro teams have a chance to evaluate players leaving college and hoping to be drafted in the NFL. But even after a busy week, the coach made it to Midland for Tuesday’s event.
“It’s great. Everybody’s so nice,” Garrett said of his trip to West Texas. “It’s just fun to be here.
“It’s flat,” he laughed, agreeing with a reporter. “But the people are great. And that’s been my experience in the past.”
Tuesday’s experience, by all accounts, was a success for Bynum School.
“It was certainly one of those opportunities that you said, ‘I’d like to be a part of something like this,’” Garrett said. “The more you find out about it, the more you realize the impact they’re making on a lot of people.”