WILTON, CT, USA U.S. Army PFC, HHC, 1ST BATTALION, 68TH ARMOR, 3 BCT, FORT CARSON, CO BAQUBAH, IRAQ 09/03/2006
Army Private First Class Nicholas A. Madaras of Wilton, a soldier with the 4th Infantry Division, was killed by a bomb while on foot patrol in Baqouba, Iraq, on September 3, 2006. He was nineteen years old.
Nicholas A. Madaras had plans for college, but he thought a stint in the Army would be good for him. Nick was a leader on the soccer field, a sharp student and a caring and creative person. He was the third serviceman from Connecticut to have died in Iraq in a nine-day period. Madaras was scheduled to finish his tour in Iraq on Oct. 24, three days after his 20th birthday.
Nick was so totally: soccer. Nick had lived overseas with his parents and when they returned to the US his family got Nick into soccer, literally pushing him into the game in an effort to get him assimilated into his new US environment. With the guidance of great coaching, Nick matured his soccer skills and ended up serving as an assistant coach with his long-time and first soccer coach. Nick’s excellent athletic ability showed in Lacrosse and basketball, but it was soccer that Nick was all about.
Once he saw the Iraqi children’s skill for soccer, it was no wonder that while on leave he gathered up soccer balls for the Iraqi kids he saw, who, in his words, could have taught his high school soccer mates a thing or two. While Nick didn’t get to take the balls back, shortly after a gentleman from Wilton heard of Nick’s desire to share his beloved soccer and established a “Kick for Nick” program where soccer balls were gathered, sent to Nick, where Nick and his soldier-buddies distributed them to the Iraqi kids. This gesture of love and sharing was so in keeping with Nick’s caring for people and his introspective and creative nature which caused him to want to make things better.
After his military service concluded, Nick had plans to go to college and into nursing. With the sharing of his beloved soccer, Nick was already nursing, healing, and caring. Nick had done that active nursing in two places: at home in Wilton coaching and supporting many youngsters learning the sport and then in Iraq with kids there. On the “Kick for Nick” website, the information closes by noting that if you see a ball collection basket around your town, you know it is Nick’s ammunition to create a friendly world through his love of soccer. Every ball handed out generates a smile and every smile generates a memory of good will and friendship, which may one day will allow us to play on one field.