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Pat Tillman Foundation
The Pat Tillman Foundation was established in 2004 following Pat's death while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. The Pat Tillman Foundation invests in military veterans and their spouses through educational scholarships - building a diverse community of leaders committed to service to others.
The scholars chosen show extraordinary academic and leadership potential, a true sense of vocation, and a deep commitment to create positive change through their work in the fields of medicine, law, business, education and the arts.
Patrick Tillman was born to parents Mary and Patrick on November 6, 1976, in San Jose, California. The oldest of three boys, Pat was a caring and protective brother and a natural leader with a tendency to push limits in life, the classroom and on the field.
At Leland High School in San Jose, California (1990-1994), that challenger mentality would become his signature. His diligence and relentless curiosity amazed almost everyone he came into contact with. In high school he was a star who led his high school team to a Central Coast Division I Football Championship after he was told he was too small to ever play football.
Arizona State University recognized Pats potential both in classroom and on field with a scholarship to play for the Sun Devils. What Pat lacked in physical size he more than made up for in intensity as linebacker. He led ASU to the 1997 Rose Bowl after an undefeated season, earned three consecutive selections to the Pac-10 All-Academic Football Team, a 1st team Academic All-American honor, as well as the NCAAs Post-Graduate Scholarship for academic and athletic excellence. Between games, Pat earned a B.S. in Marketing, graduating Summa Cum Laude from ASUs prestigious W.P. Carey School of Business, in three and a half years.
Pat gained admiration and high regards from his professors, coaches and fans alike. You do not find guys that have that combination of being as bright and as tough as him, remarked his ASU coach. The Arizona Cardinals agreed, and selected Pat in the 7th round of the 1998 NFL Draft. Many people doubted his ability to deliver as a starter on the Cardinals opening day roster. He answered that skepticism by becoming the teams starting safety and broke the franchise record for tackles in 2000 with 224.
Pats NFL success did not go to his head or break his principles. He still drove to games in the same beat up truck he had in college. He had no cellphone. Instead he chose to read voraciously and develop, debate, and discuss his ideas with eager listeners, family and friends. He made your passion his passion. In the off-season he challenged himself physically with marathons and half Ironman triathlons while pursuing a Masters degree in history from his alma mater. He volunteered with Boys and Girls Clubs, the March of Dimes, and read and talked to students in schools across the Phoenix Valley.
The day after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Pat told a reporter, At times like this you stop and think about just how good we have it, what kind of system we live in, and the freedoms we are allowed. A lot of my family has gone and fought in wars and I really have not done a damn thing.
In the spring of 2002, Pat married his high school love, Marie, and upon his return from their honeymoon, announced to the Cardinals he had decided to place his NFL career on hold to enlist in the U.S. Army with his brother, Kevin. The decision shocked many and garnered national media attention despite his refusal to speak publicly about the choice.
Here is a link to read even more about this incredible story and person: http://pattillmanfoundation.org
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