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Nate Ford started Maricopa March Madness as an Eagle Scout project in 2014. He had two goals in mind when he started the project; do something that involved sports that would benefit the men and women that have or currently are serving our great Country in the Armed Forces.

Nate was a self-declared patriot whose day-to-day actions confirmed his declaration. He never missed an opportunity to shake the hand of a service man or woman dressed in their military uniform or wearing a hat indicating they were a veteran.

One morning, while on his way to work, he stopped by the Subway in Maricopa to buy himself lunch. Nate inherited the motto "if you are on-time you're late" from his grandfather who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. Nate made it a point to be early wherever it was he was headed. The day he stopped at Subway he was running unusually late, by "Nate Standard", and he was already in a bit of a panic about getting to work "on-time". When he walked into the restaurant to find it filled with military men and women in their fatigues he knew he was in trouble.

Out of principle and personal values he knew he had to thank each and every one of the men and women in that restaurant. But he knew he'd be late to work if he did. After a few moments of thinking he had developed a brilliant strategy. He found who he thought was the Commanding Officer, shook his hand, and said "I'd like to thank you and everyone under your command for your service to our Country". Smiling, like Nate always did, he grabbed his sandwich and headed off to work.

Nate was an athlete. He was hitting plastic balls with a giant Flinstone bat before he could walk. Nate loved all sports. Most kids watched early morning cartoons when they were children. Not Nate, he watched ESPN. At 6 years old he had all the highlights, trades, and injury reports for me as I made my way down the stairs into the kitchen on my way out the door to work. By the time he was 9 years old he knew player names, positions, and statistics better than I ever had. He went on to play a variety of sports including soccer, baseball, basketball and football. Whatever it was, he loved being on a team and in a competitive situation.

The morning of Nate's accident he, and the rest of his Seminary class, were asked by their Teacher to write down five words that defined their legacy. The last five words Nate wrote while in mortality were:

  • Hard Working
  • Member of the Church [of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints]
  • Patriotic
  • Loyal
  • Trustworthy

Nate fulfilled his mission on earth in 16 short, but inspired, years. He embodied the words he defined as his legacy. Now it is up to us, his family and friends, to carry on his legacy.

We put together a group of family and friends that were willing and able to continue the mission of Maricopa March Madness that Nate started in 2014 as an Eagle Scout project. Nate wanted to do something to help active duty and retired military men and women and their families while doing something he loved... playing sports.

The first year Nate managed to raise nearly $1,000 for Military Assistance Mission (MAM). This year our goal is to raise a total of $5,000 and divide the proceeds between Military Assistance Mission and the local American Legion Post that sponsored the summer baseball team Nate played in for several years.

We are a band of few with a honorable mission to do good in honor of a young man that changed the hearts, minds, and souls of everyone he touched. Learn more about Nate on the Facebook Group called "Nate Ford... Always Remember Him".

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