About Josh and Nate:
Josh inspired all of those who witnessed his courage and attitude toward life. Joshua Hardy died in 1993 after a courageous 18-month battle with brain cancer. Josh was full of hope, art, humor and courage – and the cancer that cut his life short never succeeded in taking these great gifts of personality from him. Nor did the cancer ever stop him from inspiring these elements in his friends and family. Josh was a standout athlete on the soccer field at Oyster River, and although he was talented at traditional sports, he had a deeper passion for skateboarding and surfing. He was an artist in so many ways and his life continues to inspire and influence all of those who knew him.
THE JOSH HARDY SCHOLARSHIP
Each year since 1994, the Hardy Family has awarded the Josh Hardy Scholarship to a graduating senior at Oyster River High School who has found the Art Program to be a special place for growth and development.
Josh taught his family and friends how to be better human beings. He believed in living a full life, in friendship, forgiveness, and hope. He dreamed of going to art school. He loved all aspects of art, but he especially loved to sketch punk rockers and skateboarders. This meant that, for background, he had to ride his skateboard through the UNH campus and get chased by the police. And he had to go to every Dinosaur Junior and Mighty Bosstones concert.
Josh kept a journal during the last year of his life, as he battled brain cancer. On the cover he wrote: “Never deprive someone of hope, it may be all he or she has.” His message of hope found its way into the many music “mixes” he made for family and friends. For the cover of one tape (called “Total Cruisin”), he sketched a surfer headed into the water.
It was a tape he played when he and his friends went up to Ogunquit to surf. Although some of the songs deal with death, they are outnumbered by songs of hope, including one of his favorites — Jimmy Cliff’s “Sunrise” — which starts with a rooster’s crowing. “Rise up and shine, life is yours, life is mine. The world is turning, it’s a new horizon, birds are singing, and the music’s playing for you. Tomorrow is another day, put your troubles away.”
To the end, Josh was a good and considerate friend. After he died on 6 January 1993, his family found a will he had written a month before. At the time, many of his friends were having difficulty coming to see him. They didn’t want to see his deteriorating condition. The last line of his will shows that he understood: “whatever else there is, let my friends have a look and take something to remember me by. I don’t know what else. Just tell everyone I said good bye and thanks.”
Nate inspired untold thousands in a life dedicated to service to his country and his family. Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer Nathan H. Hardy, was killed while conducting combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom Feb. 4, 2008. Nate dreamed of becoming a Navy SEAL from a young age. Through his years on the soccer and lacrosse fields at Oyster River High School, he discovered and developed the fierce competitiveness and team-first mentality that would later serve him so well on his road to achieving that goal. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the Navy and achieved his dream. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, three Good Conduct medals, two National Defense medals, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, three Sea Service deployment awards, NATO Medal, Expert Rifle Medal and the Sharpshooter Pistol Medal. In 2005, while attending the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., Hardy married the love of his life, Mindi Buck. In 2007, Mindi gave birth to their son, Parker Hall.
Nate lived his dream both at work, where he served his country with extraordinary honor and superior bravery in the fight against terrorism, and at home, where he was a devoted husband and father.
Here is Matt Renner’s moving tribute to his friend:
THE NATE HARDY AWARD
In 2008, ORHS began awarding the Nate Hardy Award, which goes to a male and female varsity athlete who “best exemplifies what Nate stood for on and off the playing field: physical and metal toughness, leadership, and determination.”
As early as the sixth grade, Nate wrote a paper about becoming a Navy SEAL. Through his years on the soccer and lacrosse fields – with Seacoast United and Oyster River – he discovered and developed the fierce competitiveness and team-first mentality that would later serve him so well on his road to achieving his goal. In his senior year at Oyster River High School, he was selected by the New Hampshire soccer coaches to the all-state second team. He was also elected by his teammates as a co-captain of the ORHS Boys Lacrosse team.
In November 1997, five months after graduating from ORHS, he enlisted in the United States Navy and began his SEAL journey, which included graduation with BUD/S Class 221, three deployments with SEAL Team Eight, completion of the eighteen month course in Arabic at the Defense Language Institute, successful screening and selection as the “number one draft choice” to the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG), and a final deployment with DevGru KILO Team. He was killed in action against an al Qaeda suicide bomb cell on 4 February 2008.
Nate’s military honors included selection as Distinguished Military Graduate from Quartermaster “A” School, selection as Honorman at tactical entry expert school, two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, early promotion to the rank of Chief Petty Officer, and numerous other medals. He talked little about his SEAL deployments. He kept his first Bronze Star in a locker at his base, and dismissively told his father: “Dad, it’s not about the medals. It’s about serving my country and the guys I work with.”
His life was fulfilled in his marriage to Mindi Buck on 4 June 2005 and the birth of their son Parker on 16 July 2007. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on 15 February 2008.
These two brothers were the best of Durham’s youth. Each year, we will run to remember and honor them. The proceeds from this day will be donated, in Josh and Nate’s names, to The Oyster River Teen Initiative, to help improve the experience of the future youth of the area.
How The Bobcat Bolt came to be…
On an emotional and sad night after Nate Hardy’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, on February 15, 2008, many friends gathered in Washington D.C. Under such tragic circumstances, the profound and positive impact of Nate’s life led to a coming together – a galvanizing of unity within our community. There was even gratitude, albeit melancholy, that in the stark face of grief and sudden loss, we had a wonderful community for strength and support.
There were conversations about trying to bring people together more often – to celebrate our community and remember Nate.
Months later, friends and family came together again to honor Nate’s service to his country and to remember his extraordinary life. An overflowing memorial service in Durham at the UNH Field House was a testament to Nate’s impact, both in his hometown community and beyond.
Once again, there was a palpable gratitude for the loving community that makes up Durham and the surrounding area. These conversations grew into action and a vision.
The Bobcat Bolt is a part of the vision to bring our community together, annually, to remember Nate and Josh, and to help support the future of our community – the youth of the Oyster River School District.
It is our hope, that The Bobcat Bolt and the Oyster River Festival (held after the Bolt) will help us all remember Nate and Josh – and inspire us to “come home” and interact and be a part of the community we come from. We hope by running together we can honor Nate’s life of extraordinary service and bravery and remember Josh’s lesson of hope and courage.
The Bobcat Bolt is a run to remember and honor them as we come together as a community.
Hope to see you there,
The Bobcat Bolt organizers