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Jack Eaton is paying it forward as part of Gatorade’s national “Play it Forward” marketing platform.

The Chesterton soccer product and Valparaiso University recruit was named the Gatorade Indiana Boys Soccer Player of the Year last month. As part of the award, Eaton was able to select a local or national youth sports organization to receive $1,000 from Gatorade.

It didn’t take long for Eaton to select the Duneland Boys and Girls Club in Chesterton.

“Gatorade gives you this money and you can give it to any non-profit organization,” Eaton said. “I gave it to Mr. (Ron) Ranta. I see him at every sporting event and just what he has done for the community, building that place up from scratch. He’s made it a great place and the money will go toward more equipment.”

Ranta was blown away by Eaton’s generosity, but also realized that the act fell in line with everything that Eaton has stood for during his Chesterton career.

“This really worked out well,” Ranta said. “We were just talking to the staff about how we needed some soccer equipment and some basketballs. The gift came at a perfect time. Jack recognized how many people this gift could reach. He’s a guy that has really talked the talk and walked the walk and there’s no better role model in Porter County than him.”

Eaton plans on dropping by the Duneland Boys and Girls Club from time to time this fall as he’ll be playing soccer across town for the Crusaders. Eaton becomes the latest Region product to sign with Valparaiso out of high school, following in the footsteps of former Chesterton star Billy Biehl.

“I think it’s cool that I can still pursue my dream of playing college soccer, but I’ll also be 20 minutes from home,” Eaton said. “I leave in about three weeks and I’m going to go (to Valparaiso) and give it my all.”

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