December 28, 2008

"By Remembering One, We Honor All"--John McColley

John and Susan McColley spearheaded the National Wreath Project with the help of Stan Clark of Gettysburg. The parents of Eric McColley who was killed in the War on Terror in February 2006 started placing wreaths on his grave around Thanksgiving of 2006.

Each time they visited the cemetery with a new wreath they would place the existing wreath on the grave of a neighboring Marine. They noticed that many of the other graves were not being decorated and from that day forward they decided to honor as many as they could. In 2006, they placed 515 wreaths.

This year, with the help of so many, they were able to put over 2700 wreaths total- 500 wreaths on grave sites at Gettysburg National Cemetery and over 2,100 at Quantico National Cemetery.

The Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation was so proud to financially support this noble and worthwhile cause. Foundation Board Member, Captain Tony Mitchell and his two young sons (above) helped with this effort.

The Eric McColley Scholarship of Honor was established in 2007 at Gettysburg High School and is awarded to a graduating student going into the military or a form of community or public service.

December 22, 2008

Happy 2nd Birthday Jimmy!

Katherine Cathey was 5 months pregnant when her husband James was killed while conducting combat operations in Iraq on August 21, 2005. On her son's first birthday, United States Marine Colonel Steve Beck presents Jimmy Cathey with the Scholarship of Honor medal in honor of
his Dad, USMC 2nd Lt. James Cathey.

The inscription to little Jimmy on the back of the medal reads: Your selfless service, heroic deeds and love for your Marines will never be forgotten. From this day forward, the manner by which you lived your life, with enthusiasm, with vigor, and with an energy rarely witnessed, will forever stand as an inspiration to those who take on the noble challenge of serving their fellow man. “Happy 1st Birthday Jimmy, your daddy is watching over you.” 22 December 2006

The James Cathey Scholarship of Honor was established at Reno High School and first presented in 2007. Thanks to the Remembering the Brave Foundation, this will be a perpetual tribute to James. Maybe one day James' son, will present this scholarship in honor of his Dad...what a great honor that would be!

Dad had the chance to meet Katherine at the Medal of Honor Patriot Dinner in Denver this past September where she was recognized as a Gold Star family.

Happy 2nd Birthday Jimmy, your daddy continues to watch over you.

Col. Steve Beck and Jimmy Photo by: Judy DeHaas, Rocky Mountain News
Katherine Cathey with Doug LaViolette

September 30, 2008

Scholarships presented in Nidzica, Poland

Thanks to our sponsors, 7 students received a life-changing scholarship in Nidzica, Poland on September 26, 2008. The Casey Cuene family, the Robert Nueske Family, Dr. Michael and Susan Smullen and the Weyers Family Foundation, along with the Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation make this possible annually. Brian’s Foundation has worked with Nidzica Community Foundation in Poland since 2003.

Each scholarship recipient is awarded $500, along with a specially designed engraved Scholarship of Honor Medal. The inscription on the back includes the name of the recipient along with the saying:

With commitment your strength will endure
With compassion you’ll share understanding
And through knowledge, the world will be a more peaceful place.

The pure white ribbon holds the medal close to your heart, signifying our common bond, the international symbol of peace.

The photo features our 2008 Scholarship recipients (left to right): Andrzej Zawieska (Nidzica Community Foundation), Grzegorz Bruzdziak, Jakub Piasecki, Mr Tadeusz Hinc (Community businessman), Jakub Siedlecki, Bartosz Karla, Joanna Pfajfer and Ewelina Stepien. Anna Moszczynska (photo on left) also received the scholarship at an earlier date.

September 2, 2008

"First Tee" Scholarship Recipient Heads for College

Five years ago, Brian Summerfield, received our $1000 First Tee Scholarship at the Brian LaViolette Leadership Camp. Brian's Foundation partnered with the Golf Foundation of Wisconsin (GFW) in 2001 . The GFW provided children across the state with affordable and accessible facilities to have the opportunity to learn not only about golf, but also about the values the game promotes such as integrity, patience, honesty, self-confidence and leadership. The Camp was created to mirror the ideals of excellence, hope and perseverance that Brian held dear.

Brian Summerfield received the scholarship when he was 14 years old and is now heading to the University of Milwaukee.

August 10, 2008

Scholarship Helps Aviation Student Soar

Wesley “Rhett” Kicklighter grew up in Georgia, looking to the skies. The accomplishment that he is most proud of is obtaining his Private Pilot’s license. And he has a lot of accomplishments to choose from. He worked his way through the ranks in Eagle Scouts and earned the God and Country Award, which allowed him to devote additional time for public service. Kicklighter was also involved in many other clubs and organizations.

It was that commitment to his community and country that earned him another honor during the EAA AirVenture Convention the last week in July in Oshkosh. Kicklighter was selected to receive the fifth annual Thomas J. Hudner Scholarship of Honor. Hudner was a fighter pilot in the Korean War and a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his bravery of his actions on December 4, 1950.

“I am honored to be awarded this scholarship. Thomas Hudner is a devoted, compassionate man and his actions were very commendable. My goal is to learn from the actions of people like him, continue my education and to strive to be a leader in my community.” Kicklighter stated.

Kicklighter is putting the scholarship money to good use as he attends Georgia Tech University this fall as an Aeronautical Engineering major. But his ambition and his desire to give back doesn’t stop there.

Upon graduation he plans to continue his education at Graduate school and has set a goal to obtain his Certified Flight Instructor rating. After college he will enlist in the National Guard.

“Rhett was chosen for his commitment to his country and community, the same qualities that Tom possesses,” said Kim LaViolette, Executive Director of the Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation who created and endowed the scholarship.

Photo: Scholarship recipient, Rhett Kicklighter with mother, JoEllen Gantt (left) along with Doug and Renee LaViolette at the First Wing Dinner and scholarship presentation at EAA’s AirVenture on July 29, 2008

June 23, 2008

The Journey Collection

Touching lives with The Journey Collection - Handcrafted Wood Frames

The Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation is teaming up with the artistic creators of Sugarboo Designs out of Roswell, Georgia to unveil The Journey Collection-a collection of Sugarboo customized wood frames for those treasured photos that inspire you. The collection features the foundation’s trademark… “The Journey is the Reward" and a famous quote from Ronald Reagan.

The handmade, hand-painted, wood photo box is a piece of art in itself, that is only waiting for a special 4” x 4” keepsake photograph to make it truly unique.

The first “The Journey is the Reward” photo box was presented to Tonight Show host Jay Leno on the set of his comedy program in Burbank, California on February 8, 2008. Jay was chosen for his compassion toward the foundation early on when he endorsed the book, by the same name, written by Brian’s parents Doug and Renee and sister Kim, about the struggles in losing a loved one. Jay being an avid car collector with over 200 automobiles, was presented this specially designed photo box including a picture of a young Mr. Leno with his first new car, a 1965 Buick.

Rebecca Puig, owner of Sugarboo Designs with her husband, Rick on why she decided to support Brian’s Foundation, “I read the book and I was very inspired by the story of how a family and community came together and turned something so heart wrenching into something beautiful... I am honored to work with people that bring so much hope into the world.”

This collection by Sugarboo Designs is currently available through The Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation. The 20” x 20” frame costs $250 + $15 shipping. The 10” x 20” frame costs $100. The frame will also be given as a gift to donors contributing $1000 or more to Brian’s Foundation mission: honor hard work, community service, offer inspiration and share the belief that “The Journey is the Reward. The Journey Collection will be available at the only two location in DePere where Sugarboo Design frames are sold, Hey Daisy and Kim Klein Photography, both in DePere, Wisconsin.

For more information, please call Kim LaViolette at 828-242-3790.

June 4, 2008

First Annual Presentation at West Point

Cadet David Kennedy is the recipient of the first annual Robert Foley Scholarship of Honor.

This award is presented to a Cadet who has overcome difficult circumstances while attending the Academy. In the summer of 2005, David was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis (MG). This disease affects the neurological system and with a successful surgery,thankfully Cadet Kennedy was able to overcome this challenge and return to USMA in January 2007. Upon graduation, Cadet Kennedy was commissioned an Officer in the United States Army.

Special thanks to Midwest Airlines for making this trip possible for Doug LaViolette allowing him to participate in the ceremony and meet this dedicated young man and his family.

Photo left to right: Doug LaViolette, David Kennedy, David's Mom-Chris, brother-Geoff, and Dad-Edwin.
General Robert Foley by Nick DelCalzo

May 22, 2008

Seymour Graduate Awarded $10,000 Scholarship

Seymour Community High School senior Ben Fischl is the recipient of the second annual Brian LaViolette Scholarship.
Doug and Renee LaViolette with Ben Fischl at Partners in Education
Youth Celebration on May 8th

“Our community is fortunate to have many talented young people, and Ben Fischl is certainly a young person to make us all proud and optimistic for our future,” said Nancy Schopf with Partners in Education.

Partners In Education had the difficult task of helping select this years recipient. The Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation presents its annual $10,000 college scholarship to a graduate who not only excelled in academics but possessed a passion for learning and a desire to give back to his or her community.

Fischl is Seymour Community High School’s valedictorian for the Class of ’08 and will graduate in June. He has been accepted into the Air Force Academy and plans to study political science and economics.

“As if I wasn’t excited enough to go into the Academy, now I have a great legacy to carry with me,” Fischl said referring to Brian LaViolette and the Foundation.

A selection committee made up of representatives from Partners in Education along with the LaViolette family narrowed down 17 high school seniors’ applications--one student chosen by selected staff from each high school. The committee then narrowed it down to five students who were interviewed.

Partners in Education, through the Green Bay Chamber, promotes the values of education and a lifelong love of learning, emphasizing the need for post-secondary education. This year Brian’s Foundation is nearing a milestone by awarding its 400th college scholarship.

April 30, 2008

New Scholarship of Honor at West Point Academy

We are proud to announce a newly established Scholarship of Honor at the United States Military Academy at West Point. This award will pay tribute to a living Medal of Honor Recipient, Robert Foley. The first annual Robert Foley Scholarship of Honor at West Point will be presented during the Commandant’s Awards Convocation at West Point Academy on May 27th, 2008.

Photo: Nick Del Calzo

United States Army Lieutenant General Robert Foley’s bravery in combat above and beyond the call of duty while serving his country during Vietnam earned him the nation’s highest honor for valor. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on November 5, 1966.

The scholarship will recognize a West Point Cadet who has gone through difficult circumstances and overcome obstacles while a Cadet. He or she will have established themselves as a true “leader of character” excelling in all four developmental pillars-Intellectual, Military, Physical and Moral-Ethical while at the same time reflecting and epitomizing the motto of West Point – “DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY.”

Why in honor of LTG Foley? And why at West Point? The week of Brian’s funeral, a letter arrived from West Point inviting Brian to consider applying to the United States Military Academy. At that time Brigadier General Robert Foley was Commandant of Cadets. It is easy to see how in General Foley’s life he also made his journey the reward through his commitment to his country, family, the Academy, and accomplishments along the way.

April 10, 2008

A Special Donation...

Through the generous support of the Weyers Family Foundation of Green Bay, Wisconsin, the endowments for 20 Scholarships of Honor established in 10 states will continue to solely fund their respective scholarships. The costs to maintain the scholarships are being funded by the Weyers Family Foundation through an annual preservation pledge. This preservation pledge helps with annual maintenance costs which include: the Scholarship of Honor Medal, engraving, presentation box, shipping, framing (like the one pictured right) etc. This allows only the scholarship award money to be taken out of each trust fund annually. This is the single largest donation that Brian’s Foundation has received in its 15 year history. In addition, the Weyers Family Foundation is also the proud sponsor of the John Bradley Scholarship of Honor endowment and two annual Poland Scholarships. We can not thank the Weyers Family enough for their support in our Journey and the lives of so many others.

Pictured above: Ron and Colleen Weyers (right) with Mrs. Betty Bradley and 2007 John Bradley Scholarship of Honor recipient, Luke Justman

Brett Favre Autograph Packers Helmet

A special thanks to Ed Martin of HJ Martin and Sons, Inc. in Green Bay for the donation an official Green Bay Packers Helmet signed by Brett Favre, which includes special details on his 3x MVP record, total passing yards and touchdowns make it extra special. We can see why one just like this was recently auctioned at a Notre Dame Fundraiser event for $4000. Martin proudly serves on the Green Bay Packers Executive Committee.

February 1, 2008

Midwest Airlines’ Gift of Travel helps Continue the Journey...

Through the generous support of Midwest Airlines, the memory of our nation's service men and women, and their commitment to duty, honor and country, live on through the Scholarship of Honor Program established by the Brian LaViolette Foundation.

This new year marks a milestone in the history of Brian's Foundation. With scholarships now being award in 10 states and 2 countries. As much as our family and board members would like to attend every scholarship presentation, the cost to do so would not allow us. But with the kindness of Greg Aretakis, of Midwest Airlines, we've been fortunate to participate and share in some of the scholarship presentations that take place coast to coast.

Thanks to Midwest Airlines our message will continue to thrive by those scholarship recipients who share a passion for community service and love of country. Their message of ’’The Best Care In The Air'' certainly holds true in our mind!
Photo: Kim LaViolette presenting Greg Artakis one of the Foundation's Scholarship of Honor Medals at the 2007 Medal of Honor Convention in Green Bay, WI.