Monday, January 28, 2008

Soccer - Why US Soldiers MAKE a Difference 

As many of you now, we don't watch television. However, I do work out and every once in a while I pay attention to the TV. Sometimes it's worth it, sometimes not.

This morning was worth it. Much of the mainstream media (MSM) focuses on most anything that portrays our soldiers in a bad light, ignoring all the good they have done. Today's story, on ESPN, was about Nick Madaras, an Army PFC, who was killed in Iraq in September of 2006. His death was a very sad event but his zest for life will continue in his hometown of Wilton, Connecticut and all over soccer fields in Iraq.

See, Nick was a gung-ho soccer player from his youth. He played soccer, he refereed soccer, he coached soccer - he LOVED soccer. Summer, 2006, when home on leave, he'd expressed a desire to get soccer balls to Iraqi kids upon his return there. Nick didn't know but his legacy began with his obituary when his dad had mentioned Nick's desire to collect soccer balls for Iraqi kids.

A Korean Vet, Ken Dartly, saw the comment, tracked down the parents and set up a "goal" outside an American Legion post to collect soccer balls from residents. Their aim was 50 or so. Well 1500+ soccer balls later, PFC Nick Madaras has his name in indelible marker on every soccer ball that his home town has shipped to Iraq.

The US Army distributes the balls to kids who rush towards the American trucks shouting, "The Americans are here. The Americans are here!!" (Don't see that on the news.) Now all over lots in Iraq, PFC Nick Madaras' dream has come true. Even the girls were given soccer balls.

Thank you to Nick's family for their sacrifice, the Wilton American Legion and all those who contributed to this terrific project. This is what Americans do.

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