It's been sixteen years since Lori Piestewa was killed during the Iraq War and was the first female Native American soldier to die in combat. 

For sixteen years, young athletes have been coming together in Maricopa County to play in her honor. 

The Fiesta Bowl Lori Piestewa National Native American Games were started in Tuba City a few months after Lori's death in 2003.

Now, more than 2,900 kids come out to Maricopa County. 

"It's honoring that the kids are willing to come and participate," Priscilla Piestewa, Lori's mom, said. "She was such a loving, caring young lady and she was always doing for others." 

The kids compete in six different sports all over the Valley. Last year, 36 tribes registered to play in the games. 

Priscilla said Lori was an athlete herself. 

"She was a pitcher. She was an awesome pitcher. She played varsity softball and was a pitcher for the four years that she was in high school," Priscilla said. 

"It's just very humbling to have her inspire other athletes," Brandon Whiterock, Lori's son, said. 

Whiterock said coming to watch the games, and see others participate helps his family heal. 

"When everyone comes together and we just feel like [they're] not only honoring our mother but they're honoring every veteran too," Whiterock said.