Honduran girls enjoy gifts through Kick for Nick

Wilton-based charity organization Kick for Nick joined with a U.S. military medical element at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras to distribute 35 soccer balls to girls from a Honduran orphanage on Aug. 10 during a “Fiesta Day.”

“Kick for Nick is an organization founded in honor of U.S. Army Pvt. Nick Madaras,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Laura Coppula, a pharmacist with the medical element. Private Madaras was a Wilton High School graduate, and a varsity soccer player.

“While on his first tour of duty in Iraq, Nick saw how much the Iraqi children loved soccer, but never had soccer balls to play with,” she said. “In 2006, the private gathered a number of soccer balls to give to the underprivileged children near his post in Iraq. Unfortunately, Nick was killed and was never able to distribute the balls himself.”

Shortly after his death, the organization Kick for Nick was set up in his honor to fulfill his dream. Now, soccer balls are donated to underprivileged children all around the world.

During Fiesta Day, young girls from the Honduran orphanage were seen laughing and kicking the donated balls across the soccer field towards servicemen and women of the U.S. medical element.

The lively day also held somber memories for the Joint Task Force Commander, Colonel Thomas D. Boccardi, as Pvt. Madras was one of his soldiers killed in Iraq.

“There are two ways I remember Nick. The day we lost him and the day I met his family,” said Col. Boccardi. “One dark night in Baqubah, Iraq, a couple hundred men were gathered awaiting a hero flight to pick up Nick and carry him home. We all stood silently in formation just off the helipad as a silent homage to our brother.

“There was this sense of unity, brotherhood — we shared grief, shared sacrifice, we belonged to something bigger than ourselves — a calling,” said Col. Boccardi.