Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly will be the featured guest speaker at the inaugural All-Mohawk Valley All-Stars Awards Banquet on June 19 and will help the Observer-Dispatch honor top high school athletes from Madison, Herkimer, Otsego, and Oneida Counties.

The Observer-Dispatch high school sports awards celebrates the accomplishments of every All-Mohawk Valley athlete as well as names the overall male and female athletes of the year in each sport.

“We’re excited to bring Jim Kelly to Utica. We feel so strongly that he not only is someone who can relate to our student-athlete population, but someone our attendees will realize is so much more than a professional football Hall of Famer. Jim is a Hall of Famer in life,” explained  Terry Cascioli of the Observer-Dispatch Publisher

The awards banquet will honor the top performers in 24 sports. All-Mohawk Valley athletes will attend for free and the event is open to family, friends and the general public.

“These sports focused youths will spawn tomorrow’s great leaders. These leaders are who the county needs and will depend on,” said Mark Chanatry of Chanatry’s Hometown Market

Jim Kelly played 11 seasons as an NFL quarterback, all of them with the Buffalo Bills. He led the Bills to four straight Super Bowls in the early '90s, and he ended his career with 237 passing touchdowns and more than 35,000 yards. He was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

In 2013, Kelly was diagnosed with cancer in his upper jaw. Doctors surgically removed the cancer, but it recurred the following year. Following rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, doctors declared Kelly cancer-free in August 2014.

"As a player, Jim Kelly did what no other quarterback has ever done before or
 since. As a person, he has faced tragedy and obstacles with courage and determination that few possess. For sports fans, this is an opportunity to hear from one of the best to ever play the game. For everyone, this is an opportunity to be inspired." - Matthew Becker, Observer-Dispatch Sports Editor

The event will be held at Mohawk Valley Community College Jorgensen Center from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on June 19, 2017.

Find out more information about the event, including how you can purchase tickets, at uticaod.com/mvallstars

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