XENIA — As a professional disc jockey for four decades, Jim McCluskey loves to help party-goers have a great time.
But nothing warms his heart more than what he’s been doing the last few Novembers. The Xenia resident has donated his time at the annual Thanksgiving dinner held at the senior center, playing music and entertaining attendees.
“I like people,” the owner of Starfire Professional DJ Services said. “I like Xenia. I love being here and working in the community. It’s my little gift back to the community. It just kind of grew on me. Just kind of my personality I guess.”
McCluskey goes all out as if he was entertaining at a wedding reception. He has an inflatable pumpkin with a turkey that pops out of it, lights, and has even had lasers in the past.
“I’ve had kids that come up and look at that (pumpkin) and try to take it home,” McCluskey said.
But it’s the music that’s the main attraction.
“I play holiday music,” McCluskey said. “Helps to cheer them up. I love to watch people have fun. They do. I look around and see their toes tapping, their hands tapping on the table to the beat of the music.”
McCluskey doesn’t just hang around the DJ table, however. He mingles with residents as they gobble up some yummy turkey and homemade mashed potatoes.
“I love to go around and talk to the folks that are there,” he said. “A lot of them don’t get out or maybe even see family. Sometimes I get to tell some of my stories.”
What McCluskey has done during the meal is exactly what Xenia Mayor Sarah Mays expects when organizing it.
“Jim’s contribution is yet another way people come together to make this a fun and inviting event,” she said. “It’s no surprise at all. This community takes care of each other and I’m proud to call it home. The entire community puts effort into this day (city employees making pies/donating money for pies, Xenia Area Association of Churches and Ministries raising money and volunteering, the volunteer cooks making homemade mashed potatoes, WGC and Grocerylan raising money to purchase and cook turkeys, etc.), and we want people to feel welcome and enjoy themselves. Holidays can be hard for folks, and we want people to not only enjoy good food, but enjoy it in an environment that is friendly and leaves a smile on their face. Jim is a huge part of creating that welcoming and warm environment.”
McCluskey’s generosity extends beyond the Thanksgiving meal. He keeps his DJ prices reasonable and never charges his clients mileage even when he’s driving all around the midwest.
“Kind of a labor of love,” he said.
And the love of his community.
The Xenia Adult Recreation and Services Center will host free Thanksgiving dinner 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 22, 130 E. Church St.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507. To reach McCluskey for booking information, call 937-823-2651.