Back row: Jordan Lord, Shalini Madaras, Bill Madaras, Jack Brandt. Front row: Daniel Jensen, Josh Reeve, Eric Pelletier

What impact has Wilton had around the world in Djibouti, Africa?

Thanks to Kick for Nick, the humanitarian organization formed in tribute to Wiltonian PFC Nicholas Maderas, who was killed in Iraq in 2006, there’s been a very direct impact. That’s according to the Kick for Nick August newsletter, which updated the group’s supporters over the summer with some of the incredible outreach they’ve done in war-torn and poverty-stricken areas around the world.

The organization is living up to its mission, which honors the idea started by Nick:  People donate soccer balls, which are shipped to U.S. military locations around the world, and U.S. soldiers deliver them to children in the areas where they are serving, as a means to foster goodwill and peace.

A recent U.S. military joint task force video showed just how important soldiers find the effort when it comes to building their relationships with local citizens in the countries where they’re stationed. Wilton got direct thanks in the video’s images.

“It’s not only that we’re able to conduct our mission in [East Africa], but knowing we’re able to pass on the legacy and work with the kids and the people of different countries and cultures, it’s an experience we look forward to every day,” says. Capt. Greg Heller, the maverick team leader of the C/407th Civil Affairs Battalion in the video.

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“So often we see these children on the side of the road asking for things, and we can’t always give them something so it’s nice being able to give them something they love and to see them smiling and playing,” Capt. Michael Silva, 404th CA BN dentist told Kick for Nick. “The American people need to know that they are making a difference through their donations even half a world away.”

The newsletter also noted how Wilton residents have helped the organization in another way. By donating basketballs to Kick for Nick, the organization was also able to help distribute basketballs in Djibouti, where basketball is the fastest growing sport, and children were thrilled to receive them.

kick for nick djibouti basketballs

There are additional missions detailed in the August newsletter, including a trip to Colombia taken by John Rios, who coaches soccer in Wilton; Rios distributed soccer balls, cleats, jerseys, socks and other equipment in that country on behalf of Kick for Nick for the first time.

Thankfully, donation efforts continue to happen, through the ball net located on the front lawn of the Wilton American Legion Post 86, and other efforts. The Wilton High School boys’ soccer team collected sports gear for Kick for Nick at a bake sale this summer in July. Donations made there will also be sent to Djibouti, to Camp Lemmonnier where Kick for Nick is working with U.S. Military & United Nations personnel.

The collection is on-going and organizers would greatly appreciate gently used uniforms, jerseys, shorts, socks, shinguards and cleats. The items can be from the following sports:  soccer, football, or basketball. Donations can be dropped at 35 Signal Hill Rd. or at the Wilton American Legion Post 86 at 112 Old Ridgefield Rd., either near the ball net or inside the door during weekday work hours.

Kick for Nick WHS Soccer Team - sports gear
Back row: Jordan Lord, Shalini Madaras, Bill Madaras, Jack Brandt. Front row: Daniel Jensen, Josh Reeve, Eric Pelletier