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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Joe and I met in Mrs. Homan's algebra in the seventh grade and were great friends almost immediately. Joe, my brother, the late great Frank Krzeczkowski and myself were barely seen apart if we could help it. We were support for each other when Frank died in 2002 and unfortunately went separate ways for a couple years of high school. Life evidently had a different plan for us since almost immediately following graduation we were back together all the time. When I transferred to Michigan State Joe and I spent almost all day everyday together. We learned and built on our experiences with each other. Whether it was teaching Joe to wakeboard or Joe forcing me into the gym five days a week, we were together and it never got old. Joe was a brother to me and I love him for it.
- Chris Bender
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
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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