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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I unfortunately never got the opportunity to get to know Joe, but i've been lucky to become very close with some of his very best friends. I honestly hear the amazing stories and memories of the wonderful person, and best friend he was on a daily basis. My heart goes out to family and friends.
- Caitlin Breakey
Dear Joey,
Thanks for going  fishing with me during those long afternoons on Big Floyd Lake in Minnesota. You were about 13 and up to lots of golf and any adventure I could think up. I especially enjoyed the time I suggested you drive the boat as we headed out for Walleye and Sunnies.  You looked at the massive 12 footer with an elderly 9.5 Johnson outboard with just a tad of trepidation - you had never driven a boat before.  Your Aunt Aimee' was there on our lawn as we headed out to boat . "Are you sure you should let Joey drive?" she said.  Without flinching you jumped into the drivers seat.  I explained that all you had to do was pull the rope on the motor, turn the handle for throttle, and push the tiller the opposite way you wanted the boat to go.  You gave me a knowing nod.  You got the motor running, I untied us from our dock and off we went!  You immediately turned the throttle to full blast, your eyes becoming very big as we headed straight towards the shore.  I yelled turn and you did a quick 90 degrees  right towards the neighbor's dock, the massive motor pushed us faster and faster.  Your eyes got bigger and bigger.  Aimee' was screaming and I was laughing so hard I couldn't speak.  We banged into the neighbors dock and off we went out back out into the lake.  Eventually you regained your composure and we practiced a few turns and even went out and caught a few fish.  It's a fun memory I will always treasure and hopefully Aimee' will someday forgive me for the scare we gave her. 
You're the best!
- Uncle Dan
Joey, I have a kaleidscope of wonderful memories of you! One which is very vivid pertains to your first birthday. It was spent at the house on Lucy Road. A very hot and humid time as only Mi. can be. You, Sara and Tom were with me as your parents were very busy moving the family belongings to 6316 Lodi Meadow Drive where you grew up. You were sitting in the Danish high chair prepared to dig into your cake oblivious of the heat. Grinning from ear to ear, eyes dancing and ready for action. Your Mom stopped by and your joy was complete.

Now I must share one more great memory. Your radar picked up on me when I drove up the drive to visit. Before I got my coat off you were coming down the stairs calling out " I have the Legos" No question in your mind that I was going to build with you. This joy and certainty is etched on my heart forever. I will always love you and miss you.
- Grandma Barton
The Be Like Joe Memorial Fund is a recognized 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization

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