The Lynn Silverbacks thanked Joel Machado for his efforts in founding the New England Youth Tackle Football League by naming a major award in his honor.
John Raye, president of the Silverbacks organization, made the surprise announcement at its banquet, with Machado and his proud family in attendance Friday at the Lynn English High School Cafeteria.
The first Joel Machado “Bravery” Awards were presented at the banquet. The plaques read: “For Your Service to Our Country and Your Commitment to Our Youth.”
“Joel served our country and is a firefighter in the City of Lynn,” said Raye. “He’s dedicated to our youth and he does a great and we’re really proud to work with him.”
Machado founded the New England Youth Tackle Football League five years ago. The league has grown from 400 players to 2,200 players throughout five of the six New England states.
Machado was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States at the age of 13. He served in the United States Army with tours of duty in Iraq, Bosnia, and Kosovo. He played semi-professional football in Georgia while he was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia.
“I played defensive end and offensive end,” said Machado, who is 6-foot-2.
Machado said he was honored to have an award named after him and that he’s proud of the growth of the New England Youth Tackle Football League.
“I’m glad that people appreciate what we’ve been doing for the community and trying to make Lynn a better place for our community,” said Machado. “We’re very proud of the league we started and the fact that we’ve kept the cost of registration and equipment affordable for our families.”
John Raye said the banquet – which is called Silverbacks Family Day – culminated the organization’s third season.
“The Ramirez family organized the banquet and made all the food and they did a great job,” said Raye. “My wife, Kimberly Raye, is the backbone of our organization and we couldn’t have done this without her efforts. And we received generous donations from Ward 2 Councillor Rick Starbard, Council President Darren Cyr, and Councillor-at-Large Brian St. Pierre.” Raye, who is also vice president of the East Lynn Pop Warner organization, said many of the Silverbacks players will be returning to the football field in August for the start of the new youth football season in Lynn