FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Jan. 6, 2022) – Throughout the 2021 season, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation will recognize 17 local volunteers with the "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award." The honorees will be celebrated for going above and beyond to support nonprofit organizations in our New England communities.
As part of this recognition, the foundation will present a $5,000 donation to the nonprofit organization represented by each honoree. The Patriots Difference Makers will participate in a special year-end celebration and receive a pair of tickets to attend the Patriots final regular season home game on Jan. 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"We are excited to once again recognize local volunteers with our Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award," said Josh Kraft, president, New England Patriots Foundation. "Each of these honorees has their own unique story of community service and we are proud to shine a light on the tremendous work they are doing. We would like to thank all of this year's Patriots Difference Makers for helping to build stronger New England communities."
Nathan Larabee of Becket, Mass. was selected as a 2021 Patriots Difference Maker of the Week for his commitment to New England Adventures. As part of this recognition, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation will be making a $5,000 donation to support the nonprofit.
Six years ago, Nathan began volunteering for New England Adventures, a nonprofit that facilitates all expenses paid outdoor sporting events, therapeutic events, and activities for New England veterans, service members and their families.
Nathan has served as the nonprofit president over the past three years. In this role, he manages all fundraising initiatives, coordinates schedules for veterans and leads hunting and fishing trips, family gatherings and other outdoor events. In some scenarios, adventures last several days and serve as a natural opportunity to communicate with and counsel veterans in a relaxed, outdoor atmosphere.
Nathan is a disabled veteran, having served in the United States Marines in Iraq. He understands what his fellow veterans have experienced and is able to create a safe environment to discuss alcohol and drug abuse, family and financial concerns, mental health and more. The bonding and strength that comes from these trips creates life-long friendships and a crucial support network for these disabled/combat veterans.
"When I returned from the Marines, I found myself having a hard time adjusting to civilian life and missed the camaraderie," said Nathan. "There were a lot of sleepless nights and at the time as I was struggling with PTSD. I found peace in spending my free time outdoors."
Nathan also spends hours writing grants, managing the nonprofit's website, contacting and screening veterans and creating and promoting opportunities for disabled veterans. Thanks to his efforts, New England Adventures has proudly served more than 3,000 veterans and their families.
"I believe that spending time outdoors throughout the New England wilderness, being out on the water fishing, watching nature unfold in front of my eyes; it saved me," said Nathan. "I learned about the therapeutic healing powers mother nature has to offer and I strive to extend this to current service members, veterans and their families."
"This is not a job, it's a foundational requirement to the mission of serving those who have served," Nathan continued. "A bonus is being able to help my fellow service members and veterans and to be involved in my passion at the same time."
The Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award is part of the foundation's Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, designed to educate fans about the need for volunteering, highlight deserving volunteers from across the region and inspire Patriots fans to become lifelong volunteers.
This marks the 11th season that the Kraft family and the Patriots Foundation has presented their Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award to volunteers from all across New England. Since its inception, 150 individuals have received this award and more than $675,000 has been donated to local nonprofit organizations.
To learn more about the program or to nominate a volunteer for the Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award, visit www.patriots.com/community.