NEWS | Feb. 19, 2014

Joint Task Force-Bravo Commander engages with local leaders, honors fallen soldier

By U.S. Air Force Capt. Zach Anderson Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

U.S. Army Col. Thomas Boccardi, Commander, Joint Task Force-Bravo, spent the afternoon visiting with leaders of several communities surrounding Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, Feb. 19,

Boccardi met with Ruben Raudales, Governor of the Department of La Paz, Gilma Castillo, Mayor of the city of La Paz, and Jose Tejeda, Mayor of the city of Cane. The Commander and the leaders discussed the strong partnership that exists between Joint Task Force-Bravo and the local communities, and how the Task Force can continue to provide humanitarian and medical assistance for the local population.

During the visits, Boccardi presented each leader with more than twenty soccer balls and a collection of soccer jerseys donated from the "Kick for Nick" foundation to be distributed in each community. "Kick for Nick" is a non-profit organization established in honor of U.S. Army Pvt. Nick Madaras, a soldier who served under Boccardi during a deployment to Iraq in 2006.

During the deployment, Madaras took it upon himself to gather soccer balls to distribute to the children near his post. However, he was killed by an improvised explosive device, Sept. 3, 2006. His father, Bill Madaras, established the organization in order to fulfill Nick's dream of providing soccer balls to underprivileged children as a way to foster goodwill and peace through the sport of soccer. Today, through "Kick for Nick," soccer balls are donated and distributed to children around the world. According to the organization's website, "Kick for Nick" has collected more than 39,500 soccer balls from 47 states.