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November 28, 2023
October 22, 2023
Karch Kiraly and a roomful of volleyball luminaries gathered in Irvine, California, on Saturday to celebrate the life of former USA player Byron Shewman, who died in August.
The evening doubled as a fundraiser for Starlings Volleyball USA, a nationwide juniors’ club that Shewman co-founded in 1996 with two-time USA Olympian Kim Oden.
“It was an amazing event,” said Oden, captain of the U.S.’s 1992 Olympic bronze medal team and chair of the Starlings Executive Board. “To think about the caliber of player who was here tonight is just mind-boggling. And Byron is the thread that drew everybody together.
“There were tears. There were great stories. There was a lot of respect. It was extremely touching, and it makes me proud to be involved with Starlings.”
Among the indoor and beach standouts who attended were Danny Patterson, Rudy Suwara, Duncan McFarland, Rose Ann Duncan, Ed Becker, Jon Roberts, Jon Lee, Larry Milliken, Jay Hanseth, Ed Machado, Don Shaw, Hillary Johnson and Marc Jacobs.
Starlings, currently headed by executive director Megan Kennedy, who played indoor volleyball at BYU, gives thousands of underserved girls the opportunity to play volleyball. The non-profit currently has more than 3,300 kids participating in 27 states throughout the country.
“Byron loved Starlings,” Oden said. “And all of the people here tonight helped the organization sustain itself over the years.”
Story and photos by Don Patterson