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

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
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
Oh Joey!  I knew better then to let the two of you go anywhere alone and not just because I am a worrier.  I had visions of the scene from On Golden Pond where the young boy drives the boat and he and Henry Fonda get in the boating accident.  How was I ever going to explain this one to your mom and grandma?  Sure enough, as soon as I looked up there you were headed right towards me (on shore!)- then all of a sudden you were gunning  for Al's dock next door.  I was having major heart palpitations and screaming as loud as I could ( as if you didn't know you were headed towards the dock).  I hunkered down and crept inside unable to watch anymore.  When I came to from the safety of the living room I watched as  you two headed out towards the middle of the lake.  Neither of you said a thing about it when you came back in!  You were wise to stay out as long as you did to let me cool down!
 
I love your enthusiasm, determination and grin.  And you liked my cooking which puts you in a category by yourself ( for enjoying it and surviving it!).  What fun we had watching movies and having you stay in the Grannie house next to us.   You loved having your own bachelor pad as long as Emily stayed with you.  Getting to know you was the best part.
All my love,
- Aunt Aimee'
The Be Like Joe Memorial Fund is a recognized 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization

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