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Josh VanDyke • Sep 12, 2018 at 12:15 AM

The Grand Haven Young Bucs football program received a generous donation from the Health Pointe Medical Center on Tuesday, as representatives from the medical center presented the leaders of the youth football program with an automated external defibrillator (AED) unit.

"We looked at it as a great opportunity to partner with the Grand Haven Young Bucs program, but it's also a chance for us to reach out to the community we serve," said Health Pointe Executive Director Joshua Troast. "Anytime you can provide something of use that benefits the community, it's a good cause. This (AED unit) could save a life someday, so if that's something we can help with, then we are going to do everything we can to make that possible.

"Sports are near and dear to me. My son plays football, and I played sports through high school and college, so anytime we can partner with local athletics and schools, it's a good thing. This doesn't just stop at football, either. The whole community comes out here on Friday nights to watch football games, and this gives us a chance to put our name on something local and show our commitment to them as a whole.

"We want to be a good community partner. We want to provide a service, but also, extend that service beyond our four walls at Heath Pointe and our facilities. We want to impact our community in a positive way and this is just a small opportunity to do that."

The defibrillator is a portable electronic device that sends electricity to the heart to treat cardiac arrhythmias and helps re-establish an effective rhythm to the organ. The device has saved countless lives across the world, including retired Grand Haven Department of Public Safety Sgt. Randy Poel.

"I was just talking with Randy Poel about the importance of AED units, and he said one of them saved his life a few years ago," added Troast. "The defibrillator allowed him to get to the hospital and get appropriate treatment in time. I've seen them in action. They can't fix what's wrong, but they can sustain your life and give you more time to get to the right place in time to save your life."

For Young Bucs President Jeremy LaDronka, the donation was just another step toward optimizing player safety at the youth level.

"This just further supports our program," he said. "We're trying to promote safety at the youth level and have that grow into our varsity level sports, too. This is really a community-based effort. We aren't concerned about winning at this grade level; we just want to build a successful program and keep our young athletes engaged, while also staying safe.

"Anytime we can bring the community in to support what we are trying to accomplish, it's just a win-win situation. It's great for the kids, it's great for the coaches and it's great for the community and the families within it.

"We do a lot of training, in terms of safety, as coaches. All our coaches are USA football certified, so we take player safety very seriously. We take it almost one step further than it needs to be. Some people might call that overkill, but, in my opinion, it's never enough when you're talking about kids and their safety."

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