Boise & Garden City

Family finishes the job for ‘great kid’ who died before becoming an Eagle Scout

The family of Zach Madison, 10-year-old Meridian who died in his sleep last June, built a map and memorial at the Optimist Youth Sports Complex in Boise.
The family of Zach Madison, 10-year-old Meridian who died in his sleep last June, built a map and memorial at the Optimist Youth Sports Complex in Boise. jlantz@idahostatesman.com

Zach Madison was “a total athlete, superstar student, great kid,” said Tommy Ahlquist, a local businessman who met Zach and his family in recent years.

Ahlquist said Zach had a “personality that is magnetic.” He was an accomplished football player, a Boise State University Broncos fan and enthusiastic Boy Scout who dreamed of becoming an Eagle Scout. He wanted to make a map of the football fields at Optimist Youth Sports Complex to help people, especially those who aren’t familiar with the park, find the right fields.

Zach died in his sleep last June, about one month before his 11th birthday. His death wasn’t related to injuries from football or any other sport, said Ahlquist, who is a former ER doctor as well as a commercial developer. Doctors concluded a seizure must have taken the Meridian boy’s life.

To honor his dedication to the Boy Scouts, a friend applied for Zach to be posthumously named an Eagle Scout, Ahlquist said that almost never happens, but the Boy Scouts of America approved this request.

There was one catch, though. In order to become an Eagle, a scout has to finish a major community project. The family put their heads together and built a map that bears Zach’s name in the northwest part of the park.

On Friday, Mayor David Bieter and others unveiled the memorial, which has a football-shaped base, Zach’s picture and an engraved map of the Optimist football fields.

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