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NAMES Foundation to hold fund-raiser in honor of Lt. Nicholas Aaron Madrazo

Lt. Nicholas Aaron Madrazo - COURTESY PHOTO
Lt. Nicholas Aaron Madrazo
— image credit: COURTESY PHOTO

Jenny and Joel Madrazo cherished the moments whenever they heard their son's voice over the phone. During those calls back home, Bothell native Lt. Nicholas Aaron Madrazo was stationed in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marine Corps.

Three years ago, on Sept. 9, 2008, the 25-year-old was in the mountains of Kapisa Province, Afghanistan, supporting combat operations when his Humvee hit an improvised explosive device. He was killed along with Capt. Jesse Melton, Navy Corpsman Eickmann Strickland and an Afghan interpreter.

To honor Nicholas' life and to support the troops, their families and veterans, they started the NAMES (Nicholas Aaron Madrazo Endearing Service) Foundation and will hold an all-ages 5K run/walk fund-raiser Sept. 10 at Westhill Elementary, 19515 88th Ave. N.E. in Bothell. Check-in and registration for participants start at 7:30 a.m. and the run/walk starts at 8:30 a.m.

It's those crucial phone calls with Nicholas that inspired the Madrazos to donate the funds raised during the event toward purchasing $25 phone cards for the men and women in the U.S. military who are currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. During their 6-to-12-month deployments in combat zones, the cards can give soldiers 10 hours to speak with their loved ones.

"As parents, Jenny and I know how precious those phone calls are to other families here at home every time they hear the voice of their son, daughter, mom, dad, brother or sister who are performing their duties as soldiers in various combat zones in foreign lands," Joel said. "These days, Jenny and I are grateful to hear the voice of our other son, Army Lt. Jared Madrazo, when he calls home from his deployment base in Iraq."

Joel added that before Nicholas left his home-duty base in Okinawa, Japan, for Afghanistan, he filmed a short video of himself and in it "he urged us to not forget and to continue to support the soldiers who are serving in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The NAMES Foundation is an all-volunteer organization and a registered 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. Visit www.thenamesfoundation.org for more information about the foundation and to register for the 5K fund-raising event.

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