Veterans

Henderson Memorial softball event honors slain soldier

HOULTON, Maine — Friends and family of SFC Aaron Henderson gathered once again at Houlton Community park for three full days of softball, while remembering their fallen hero.

Starting Friday with a home run derby, the softball tournament featured 12 teams, including the one that Henderson once played on. It was a time of reflection and fun for many involved.

“The purpose of this event is to honor Aaron in the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country,” Scott Sjoberg said. “We will honor him by playing a game that Aaron loved to play, share some laughs and reconnect with one another to share memories of our lost friend.”

Sjoberg said Henderson was his hero, and he strove to live his life in his honor. Sjoberg added he had renewed purpose in continuing to honor his slain friend after he sustained serious injuries in a snowmobiling accident last winter.

“I often use Aaron as motivation when I am facing a challenge in my life,” he said. “I was in a snowmobile accident that left me with three fractures in my back, a broken rib and split on my head. I remember being in the hospital, when I was finally alone, and how drastic my life may be changing.”

Sjoberg said Henderson came into his mind and the words “you got this” echoed in his head.

“Once again, my hero and friend had provided the motivation for me to get through a tough hurdle in life,” he said. 

Matt Quint served as the guest speaker for the day and touched on the mental toughness shown by the Henderson family over the years. He also credited Aaron’s mother, Christine, for helping him to be saved as the two would often meet up at church to check up on each other in the weeks following Henderson’s death.

“Aaron learned how to be a soldier from his mother and father,” Quint said. “He learned how to lead by being a good friend.”

Henderson, a resident of Hodgdon, was just 33 years old when he died on Oct. 2, 2012, of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He served a distinguished military career and became a highly decorated soldier for his assignments overseas in Japan, Iraq, Jordan and Afghanistan as a member of the Green Berets.

The softball tourney raised $7,517 for the Green Beret Foundation in Henderson’s memory.

Dwyers battled its way out of the loser’s bracket to win the championship as the team beat the Merchants 17-16 in the first game, and won 15-10 in the title game.

HOULTON, Maine — August 10, 2021 — Dwyers were crowned champions of the SFC Aaron Henderson Memorial  Softball Tournament Sunday. Dwyers battled its way out of the loser’s bracket to win the championship as the team beat the Merchants 17-16 in the first game, and won 15-10 in the title game. (Photo courtesy of Brad Fredericks)

HOULTON, Maine — August 7, 2021 — Scott Sjoberg speaks at the opening ceremony of the SFC Aaron Henderson Memorial softball tournament Saturday morning.  (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — August 7, 2021 — Shea D. Lane’s Billie Hatfield makes a great stretch at first base during Saturday’s SFC Aaron Henderson Memorial softball tournament in Houlton.  (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — August 7, 2021 — Jeremy Sjoberg tosses out the first pitch at the Aaron Henderson Memorial Softball tournament Saturday morning in Houlton. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — August 7, 2021 — Matt Quint (right) prepares to hug Christine Henderson during Saturday’s opening ceremony of the SFC Aaron Henderson Memorial softball tournament. Quint was the guest speaker for this year’s event. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — August 7, 2021 — Dylan Fitzpatrick fields a ground ball at third base Saturday during the SFC Aaron Henderson Memorial Softball tournament. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

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