The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 17, 2014

Tragic Accident Brings Shining Moments At SUN Tech

The Daily Item

— NEW BERLIN — Longtime New Berlin resident, Mike Hobbins, found himself left tragically hurt from a hunting accident when he was shot in the face by a hunter a few years ago. This single event left him blind in both eyes and has presented him with several life changing issues.

Hobbins, a former coach of several sports and former machinist at QE Manufacturing, now finds himself looking for new opportunities to use his many skills in the world of work. SUN Area Technical Institute’s director, Dennis Hain was approached by Hobbins case worker to see if there were any possible volunteer opportunities within SUN Tech. Hain communicated this local residents story to Joseph Weisser, SUN Tech’s cooperative education coordinator. Weisser states, “Upon hearing of Mike’s desire to volunteer at SUN Tech, I immediately went to his house after school that day. I knew instantly, upon meeting Coach Hobbins, that he would be a tremendous fit for us in a school wide initiative of teaching students the soft skills of interviewing. That was two years ago and he has been making a huge impact on our student body, ever since”.

Weisser and Hobbins have forged a professional relationship that creates an uniqueness to the interviewing process. Welding student Ryan Stahl, from Mifflinburg High School states, “Being interviewed by Mr. Weisser seeing our resumes and by Mr. Hobbins not being able to see me or my resume gave me a great deal of confidence. Being interviewed by a blind person gives you a total sense of being judged by what you say and sound like — not by what you look like. This is a very special situation that is presented to us-students by two very caring, professional and great guys”. Another student, health sciences Sara Shumaker, of Lewisburg High School, went on to say, “The interview experience created by these two prepare us for life events in the job market. Being blind, Mr. Hobbins sees us in a different perspective and brings out the hidden talents in us”.

Hobbins has volunteered countless hours to SUN Tech by working with students to become greater citizens in our Valley. Truly, this is nothing new to him, as many students are aware of him from his coaching days. He has mentored and coached many kids in his lifetime and the students that he has assisted with at SUN Tech mention on several occasions that their brothers/sisters have come in contact with Coach Hobbins. Students are astounded by his retention of information of past and present events that happen in our community. Weisser states, “Mike takes a vested interest in every student that he comes into contact with and when he encounters these students in the hallways, during lunch or at events outside of SUN Tech, he builds the pride and team work in each and every one of them.” Teamwork was recently stated by advanced precision machining student Logan Finsterbush, a Mifflinburg High School student, as “Processing what Mr. Hobbins and Mr. Weisser says, makes us think quickly and to be on our toes for a rapid, but thorough response in the interview process. They work so well together as a team to get the most out of us in the interview process. Thank you”.