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A transplant from Philadelphia, Webster didn’t know much about the former football player until he moved to Arizona with his wife _ an Arizona State student while Tillman was there _ and witnessed the immense sorrow that the entire state felt when he was killed.

Enamored by the man and the decisions he made, Webster decided to join Pat’s Run and hasn’t missed one, doing all seven with his son.

But Webster wanted to do more to keep Tillman’s spirit alive, so when he had to come up with a state-required written lesson plan, the physical education teacher asked his students at Pickett Elementary School in Queen Creek to write an essay about Tillman.

“The title of the paper is `Remember his Name,’ so 10-15 years from now, when they hear the name Pat Tillman, I want them to remember the name,” said Webster, who also drew a portrait of Tillman on the gym wall. “I don’t want him to disappear over time, for people to forget him.”

For the essay, Webster has the students watch a biography video on Tillman and sends them home with information to read about him. He outlines what he wants in each of the five paragraphs and doesn’t require them to agree with his assertion that Tillman was a positive role model, asking only that they back up any statements they make about him.

The students have a week to write the essay.

In the final paragraph, Webster asks the students to come up with a way they can have a positive influence on people’s lives. It’s his favorite part, especially when students turn in material like this:

“I can make a positive difference in the live(s) of others by see(ing) what I have here in front of me and not taking anything for granted. Maybe I could donate some of my things to homeless people and show my kindness and love I have for my family and our WORLD!!” — Savannah M.

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Wearing the loose-fitting garb of the locals, with a head wrap and a full beard, grime-covered Sergeant First Class Glen Lacroix had just arrived at a military base in Afghanistan in 2004 when he came across a thick-necked Army Ranger built like a tank.

Immediately recognizing the most famous of Rangers, Lacroix was looking to shake his hand, only to be greeted by the rigid at-attention posture soldiers give to superior officers in battle zones instead of saluting.

Lacroix told the Ranger to relax and the fellow Special Operations soldiers hit it off quickly, spending seven hours talking the night away. Lacroix tried to shift the conversation to football _ Tillman was only interested in Lacroix’s job in the intelligence world.

“Unbelievable guy, awesome dude,” Lacroix said from his office at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “It was one of those things where it was what you see is what you get. There was no (nonsense).”

Lacroix is one of 171 Pat Tillman Military Scholars, a program developed by the Pat Tillman Foundation to help servicemen and family members earn degrees or complete certificate programs.

Originally set up to handle the influx of checks being sent to the Tillman family shortly after Pat’s death, the PTF expanded a few years later to pledge $1.25 million to the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State. Once that promise was fulfilled, the foundation shifted focus again, this time to help fill the financial gaps in the GI Bill.

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