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

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
When Joey was about 10 years old he was bright beyond his years, was relentlessly inquisitive and had unbounded energy. He ran around on feet already bigger than mine and was always flashing his big, toothy grin. I called him PITA (pronounced: pee-ta; just like the bread), it stood for "pain in the ass". I think he took it as a compliment and a challenge. One time in particular I told him to settle down or I would put him in the trunk of my car, which I ended up doing for about a minute. I let him out and he was sputtering /blubbering mad saying he hated me and would never talk to me again. This was not what I had intended. But much to my relief ten minutes later Joey had forgiven me and we were pals again. Of course PITA quickly disappeared as Joey grew into all that Joe was. All of us who knew Joe have suffered a great personal loss, but even those people who never knew him suffered a loss as well for the world is a lesser place without him. I will never forget him and will miss him always.
- Uncle David
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
The Be Like Joe Memorial Fund is a recognized 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization

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