What is the Be Like Joe Memorial Fund?

The Be Like Joe Memorial Fund was established in August, 2008 by Tom and Sara Barton in memory of their younger brother Joe who lost his life in an automobile accident earlier that month at age twenty. While attending Saline High School, Joe was a member of the cross-country and track teams; earning his varsity letter in both. The Fund is intended to provide financial assistance for college expenses to a senior class member of the Saline High School men's cross country and track teams. The recipient will be one who best exemplifies Joe's dedication to academics, his character, competitive spirit, and reflects Joe's heartfelt concern for family and friends.

Be Like Joe

In his hometown of Saline, Michigan, Joe Barton was the son, student and friend everyone wanted to be: an A student who downplayed his achievement; the role model who led by example; the fierce competitor who inspired teammates; and the loyal friend who always put others above self. Joe went on to study chemistry at Michigan State University, where he continued to impress teachers, teammates and friends with his drive, compassion and joyful personality.

On August 20, 2008, Joe died in a car accident. Even then, Joe found a way to give: He was an organ and tissue donor, providing hope and new life to dozens of people in need.

Today, Joe Barton lives on through a memorial fund designed to encourage the values he lived by: academic achievement, strength of character, competitive spirit and concern for others. Each year, The Saline Men's Cross Country program will recognize students who embrace those values through the Be Like Joe Scholarship – a tribute to a short life full of meaning, and young man with an unforgettable smile.

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Help us to remember Joe and the gifts he gave us.
Please post your memories and thoughts here as a tribute to Joe and his amazing life.
~Thanks.

Memories

Joe, you gave me the greatest gift you ever could ... you gave me yourself. I'll always miss your big hugs and bright smile. Thank you for just being you.
- Your uncle Jim
Hey Joe, thanks for making Tom and I feel like our old-man advice mattered. I've never seen a kid who could have himself put together so well, yet never stop smiling and listening as we so matter-of-factly told you how we saw the world. The truth is, you had it all figured out way more than we ever did, and we knew it and loved you for it. I'll take your memories and life with me always.
- Ryan Weaver
When I was at the service for Joe I was talking to his friends and they all kept telling me how motivated a person Joe was and that he wasn't a quitter. Everyone also said that Joe could EAT. That makes me think of my favorite memory of Joe. We were having Thanksgiving dinner at your home one time and Joe was eating and eating and eating. I believe that shortly after he filled his plate again (for maybe the forth time) he decided that he was full and couldn't eat anymore. He was then informed (in true Barton fashion) that we don't waste food and if it was on his plate he needed to finish it. So Joe did, he cleaned his plate and then preceded to vomit his dinner back onto his plate. I vividly remember Joe looking up with a worried look on his face and he asked "do I have to eat that?" I then remember my father speaking up saying "no you don't Joe you already ate it once"
- Cousin Michael
The Be Like Joe Memorial Fund is a recognized 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization

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