MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Things don’t always go as planned. That doesn’t mean they don’t turn out pretty good in the end.
That is the odyssey of 1984 Plymouth High School graduate Matt Starr. A standout athlete at Plymouth, he attended Manchester College and received a master's degree from Kent State.
He appeared headed for a long and distinguished career as a sports psychologist, with an appointment to work at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
“Before I could go, Desert Storm hit and funding was cut,” said Matt. “I found myself needing a job and found one with the government here in Ohio working with developmentally disabled people. I was recreation director, so I did all kinds of things like Special Olympics and other programs like that.
“I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised that all those things I’d been learning in psychology I could still apply. I mean, I could have been helping a sprinter get another tenth of a second off his time, but what I was doing was teaching somebody who couldn’t do it before, how to brush their teeth; helping people that were terribly emotionally scarred — and that was such an incredible reward.”
Starr found a passion for his work and for the people he worked with that led him to finally become the director of a 32-bed facility in the state for the developmentally disabled. After a time, he also felt a pull in another direction.
“I began to feel I could do more to help the field I was in by getting out of it,” he said. It was at that time he also met someone who would change his life.
“I met a man named Roger McNamara who was dying,” said Starr. “He worked in the area of abuse prevention and he wanted somebody to work with him in getting all his ideas and concepts out and on film before he died. We came up with the abuse prevention video series.”
In order to do that, Matt had to start his own video production company I-CONN Video Production (www.iconn  video.com/contact.html) — and one thing led to another.
“We do commercial production, work for ad agencies; we recently did a campaign for the Chamber of Commerce here,” he said. “I guess you could say I’m an entrepreneur now. I look for opportunities and relationships to become involved with.”
Now Starr has also moved into writing, with the publishing of his first book, “Thoughtful Caregiving; Abuse Prevention through Emotional Responsibility.”
“I write every day. I’ve done that really for the last 20 years,” he said. “The first thing I do when I wake up is write something. Maybe it’s just a couple of sentences but it’s something. I love it.”
And in all the spare time he has, Starr has taken up another pursuit.
“I really came alive onstage. I’ve started acting and been able to feel emotions at a depth onstage I haven’t felt in a long time,” he said. “I had a chance to play the part of Lenny in ‘Of Mice and Men’ and it was sort of like a culmination of a lot of things to be able to portray a character like the people I’d been working with and tell a story.
“I guess I’m just a story teller,” he added with a laugh. “I don’t make nearly as much money as I did when I was working for the government, but it is really very satisfying.”
Starr will be in Plymouth for a special appearance and book signing for his new book Saturday, Jan. 29 from 11 a.m to 2 p.m in the Plymouth Public Library’s Fireplace Room.
Along with the I-CONN Video website, Starr’s work can also be seen at www.keylightadvertising.com  and on You Tube at www.youtube.com/  watch?v=s_BhND87rbA with several related video links available there as well.