December 7, 2009

Remembering Not Only a Hero, but a Great Man--Len Keller

Vietnam Medal of Honor Recipient, Leonard "Len" Keller, 62 was laid to rest November 30th in Arlington Cemetery, over a month after he was killed in a motorcycle accident.

Brian's Foundation had announced in 2008 and was in the process of completing the endowment drive for the Len Keller Scholarship of Honor at Guilford High School in Rockford, IL. Len was going to present the first award.

Len was killed only minutes after being honored at the U.S. Navy Fleet Reserve Association in Pensacola, Florida. He was a two-tour Army veteran and recently retired after a 28-year career as a civilian in the supply unit at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

Sergeant Keller was cited for heroic action in May, 1967 when his unit was assaulted by superior enemy forces near Ap Bac, South Vietnam.

Photo by: Nick DelCalzo

Saying goodbye to an American Hero at Arlington-Doug LaViolette

"What humbled me the most on that rainy Monday was after everyone left Len's Memorial service. I had the privilege to privately say goodbye. Here in front of me, was a bigger than life American hero, being laid to rest in these hollowed grounds at Arlington in the basic military issued casket...nothing fancy. But then there was nothing Len would have liked more than to be treated like every other soldier he ever served with. I can guarantee he did so with respect and his soldiers respected him.

We promised Len we would honor him perpetually with the Leonard Keller Scholarship of Honor at Guilford High School in Rockford, Illinois...we will keep that promise. We will miss Len presenting the first scholarship this coming May, but we will never forget..."

-Doug LaViolette-U.S. Army Sgt 1968-70.

Photo was taken by Doug at the beginning of Len's funeral procession overlooking the Pentagon.

November 20, 2009

Save the Date for 11.11.11

We pull through challenging times by pulling together. That is the foundation of this great country and we’d like to invite you to join us on 11.11.11 for a historic occasion as we celebrate “What’s Right With America.” We will salute the extraordinary people who believe that “The Journey is the Reward.”

We can’t think of a better way to honor Brian’s memory than to recognize those who follow in his footsteps and continue to make a difference. The evening will feature several guests of honor and special entertainment.

The Brian LaViolette Foundation thinks it is only fitting that we take an evening to celebrate those who make this country great!

November 2, 2009

A Journey without Borders-Poland Scholarships presented October 31, 2009

Brian's Foundation teamed up with the Nidzica Community Foundation in Nidzica, Poland in 2003 and now awards seven scholarships annually.

Thanks to sponsors: Bob Nueske Family, Casey Cuene Family, Dr. Michael Smullen Family, the Weyers Family Foundation and the Brian LaViolette Foundation, seven students receive a life changing scholarship.

Pictured here are: Halina Pyszko (a member of the Board of the Nidzica Community Foundation), Andrzej Zawieska, Renata Bruzdziak, Aneta Rudzinska, Szymon Kowalski, Marta Jablonowska, Alicja Suberlak, Tadeusz Miecznikowski (the President of the Co-operative Bank in Nidzica, member of the Board of the Nidzica Community Foundation), Barbara Margol (The President of the Nidzica CF ). Sylwia Lubian and Renata Adaszynska could not attend the ceremony.

October 21, 2009

Medal of Honor Recipient who attended 2007 Green Bay Convention was killed on Sunday

We just found out this sad, tragic news about our dear friend, Len Keller. This is sad for so many reasons as we had announced and were in the process of completing the endowment drive for the Len Keller Scholarship of Honor at Guilford High School in Rockford, IL. Len was going to present the first award. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. If you would like to donate to the Len Keller Scholarship of Honor, please sent donation to:

Len Keller Scholarship of Honor
1135 Pleasant Valley Dr.
Oneida, WI 54155

Len is shown here with his granddaughter, Angela during the 2007 Medal of Honor Convention

Photo: Nick DelCalzo

Local Medal of Honor recipient dies at 62
Len Keller killed on Sunday in motorcycle accident
Louis Cooper • • October 20, 2009

A Milton resident who was a Medal of Honor recipient died Sunday in a motorcycle crash as he was leaving a veterans club. Leonard "Len" Keller, 62, died at Sacred Heart Hospital after the accident outside the Fleet Reserve Association in Milton. Keller served for two years in Vietnam, then worked for 28 more as a civilian in the supply department at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

Capt. Bill Reavey, commanding officer of Pensacola NAS, called Keller's death "a national loss."
"Len was a very humble guy. What he did was just amazing," said Reavey, who spoke at Keller's retirement party in December."If you met him and then you read his citation, you'd never know it was him. What he did was super human. He saved numerous lives that day."

Keller served as an Army sergeant in Vietnam. President Lyndon Johnson presented him with the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony in 1968.The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest military honor. It is presented by Congress for risk of life in combat beyond the call of duty.

Keller received the medal in recognition of "conspicuous gallantry" as he and another soldier came under fire from the Viet Cong in a number of enemy bunkers and in nearby trees. "Sgt. Keller quickly moved to a position where he could fire at a bunker from which automatic fire was received, killing one Viet Cong who attempted to escape," according to the citation.

"Leaping to the top of a dike, he and a comrade charged the enemy bunkers, dangerously exposing themselves to the enemy fire," according to the citation. He then charged a second bunker, killing its occupant, and five more bunkers, killing the enemies in them.

"During their furious assault, Sgt. Keller and his comrade had been almost continuously exposed to intense sniper fire as the enemy desperately sought to stop their attack," the citation reads. After his ammunition was exhausted, Keller returned to his platoon to assist in the evacuation of the wounded. "His acts are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army,'' the citation states.

Upon retirement, Keller placed his actions firmly in the midst of those performed by his fellow soldiers. "I'm not any different than any of the other people who were there," he said in an interview. "I just received a medal. A lot of guys out there deserved medals too, they just didn't make it."

Sunday's crash occurred at 3:18 p.m. as Keller was leaving the fleet center on his Harley Davidson three-wheeled motorcycle, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Keller made a sharp left and "was traveling too fast for the turn and left the paved surface of the road," the Highway Patrol reported. The motorcycle overturned several times and came to final rest on top of Keller. He was not wearing a helmet

October 16, 2009

Bellin College of Nusing Recipient, Amy Rader

Amy Rader of Green Bay, Wisconsin received this years' Brian LaViolette Scholarship at Bellin College last night at their Scholarship Salute Ceremony.

Amy graduated from Notre Dame High School and St. Norbert College and has recently returned to school after having 5 children.

Bellin College is dedicated to preparing health-care professionals by providing an intellectually stimulating environment focused on leadership, community service, and lifelong learning that promotes excellence in health-care practice and the advancement of the profession. Their celebrating their 100th anniversary this year.

Andrzej visits from Poland!

Andrzej Zawieska from the Nidzica Community Foundation in Poland was in Wisconsin last week and was able to spend time with a few of the important people to Brian's Foundation.

Here he is pictured with Bob Nueske (above) and Ron Weyers (bottom), two of our sponsors of our Poland Scholarships. He also serenaded them with his great accordion playing.

Andrzej is instrumental in coordinating our seven annual scholarships in Nidzica Poland. We couldn't do it without him!

August 31, 2009

Scholarship Recipient Following in his Family’s Footsteps and Local War Hero

Mikael Anthony Torres, a 2009 graduate of Waipahu High Schools in Oahu, Hawaii was awarded the 3rd annual Nainoa Hoe Scholarship of Honor on August 28 at the 1Lt. Nainoa K. Hoe Battle Command Training Center located on Schofield Barracks.

It was a special day for many reasons, especially because it would have been Nainoa’s 32nd birthday. The scholarship honors the memory and service of 1Lt. Nainoa Hoe, of Maunawili, Oahu, who was leading a combat patrol in Mosul, Iraq when he was killed in action on January 22, 2005.

The scholarship is awarded to an incoming freshman in the University of Hawaii’s Army ROTC “Warrior Battalion.” The Warrior Battalion ROTC program is singularly unique as it is authorized to display a “Campaign or Battle Ribbon” earned by the Cadets in Defense of Hawaii in WWII.

Mikael’s selection recognizes his scholastic abilities and JROTC leadership. The eldest child in a “Career Army Family” young Mikael learned at an early age the true meaning of “Duty, Honor, Country.”

Today’s Army Family presents many challenges, parents on deployment, multiple moves, attending different schools and adjusting to a life of uncertainty and stress. The motto “Army Strong” is meaningful only in conjunction with “Family Strong.” Mikael is a shining example of both.

This scholarship is made possible by Waimanalo businessman and Brian LaViolette Foundation Board member, Ohelo Kaopio.

Pictured here: Staff Sgt. Nakoa K. Hoe, brother of 1st Lt. Nainoa, Mr. Allen K. Hoe, Father of 1st LT. Nainoa Hoe, Mikael Torres, Sgt. Maj. Anthony Torres, and Sgt. 1stClass Jean J Torres, Father and Mother of Mikael Torres

August 10, 2009

2nd in the Seidler Family Receives Brian LaViolette Scholarship at NWTC

Suring High School graduate, Will Seidler received the Brian LaViolette Scholarship at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) this past week. Will plans to study Manufacturing Engineering Technology at NWTC. His brother, Paul received the scholarship in 2007 and studied in the Diesel Mechanic Associate Program.

Pictured left to right: Mrs. Seidler, Paul (Will’s brother, who received the scholarship in 2007) Mr. Seidler, Will, Renee and Doug LaViolette

July 24, 2009

Medal of Honor Recipient, John Finn turns 100

Happy 100th Birthday John!

John Finn was born on July 24th, 1909 and is the oldest of the 96 living Medal of Honor Recipients. He enlisted in the navy in 1926, following his 17th birthday. John had to have his mother sign him up because he was so young.

Even though he only had a grammar school education, he became an Aviation Ordnance man and worked his way though the enlisted ranks, finally being promoted to Chief Petty Officer in only nine years. John received a commission in 1942 and retired as a Lieutenant in 1956.

He earned his medal for actions at his Naval Air Station during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Admiral Chester Nimitz awarded John his Medal of Honor in ceremonies on board USS Enterprise. His citation was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

He is one of our nation’s treasures…and true American hero. Happy Birthday John!

John is pictured here at the 2007 Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention Green Bay Packers Game and also with his Medal of Honor from a U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

July 8, 2009

One of a kind Jeep Golf Cart--signed by Medal of Honor Recipients

When the living Medal of Honor Recipients were invited to Green Bay, Wisconsin for their annual Society convention in 2007, we started working on a unique way to escort them around the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, where they were staying.

This new Golf Cart was turned into a replica of a military Jeep that carried our troops into battle from World War II through Vietnam.

The Golf Cart is signed by the majority of the Medal of Honor Recipients who attended the 2007 Medal of Honor Society Convention. It was the first time the group of living Recipients were on Wisconsin soil at the same time-it truly is priceless.

This photo is Medal of Honor Recipient, Jack Lucas signing the golf cart. Unfortunately, Jack is no longer with us, he passed away on June 5, 2008.

For more information on how this could be yours, please contact Doug and Kim LaViolette at 920-405-9927.

May 27, 2009

3rd Annual Brian LaViolette Scholarship Awarded to DePere High School Graduate

"As always, it was a hard choice, but Nicholas shares the same core values as Brian did and we know he will go onto accomplish great things. He has been very active in helping the community and his peers, he is humble, a leader, genuine and respectful. " Doug LaViolette stated.

This year's $10,000 Brian LaViolette Scholarship was presented to Nicholas Kulkoski, a student from DePere High School, at the Partners in Education Youth Celebration.

The selection process included a committee made up of representatives from Partners in Education along with the LaViolette family who narrowed down 18 high school seniors’ applications--one outstanding student chosen by selected staff from each high school in the Partners in Education school district. The committee then narrowed it down to five students who were interviewed.

Nicholas will be attending the University of New York to pursue a degree in Actuarial Science.
Nicholas picture here with Doug, Renee and Kim LaViolette at the Youth Celebration on May 18th, 2009

May 7, 2009

Recognizing Courage and Commitment

The Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation announced today Humana Military Healthcare Services' support in the Scholarship of Honor program. Humana Military’s gift of $10,000 will be used to create special marketing materials to educate and update thousands about Brian’s Foundation, its scholarship recipients and honorees through the Scholarship of Honor program.

"Humana Military is proud to be affiliated with the Scholarship of Honor," said Dave Baker, president and CEO of Humana Military. "This is an opportunity to recognize young adults who strive for a career in the armed forces, public safety or community service. We honor their willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to protect our community and country. These honorees are our future and we wish them complete success in their endeavors."

Humana Military Healthcare Services is headquartered in Louisville, KY and its mission is to be the most trusted name in military health solutions. They collaboratively work with U.S. Department of Defense partners in the delivery of high quality, cost-effective, accessible health care services to the military population we serve.

The donation announced today will ensure that 100% of the Scholarship of Honor endowed donations are awarded to deserving students on an annual basis.

April 16, 2009

New Board Member--Stan Clark, Gettysburg, PA

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." ~Flavia Weedn. That is the way we feel about Stan Clark.

Not only did he raise over $40,000 for the Eric McColley Scholarship of Honor Fund at Gettysburg High School, but he has one of the biggest hearts anyone can ask for. He is pictured here with Medal of Honor Recipient, Wes Fox in 2007 at the first Eric McColley Scholarship of Honor presentation.

Stan served in the 2nd and 3rd Marine Divisions, as well as recruiting station duty in the Harrisburg, PA area. He was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant in 1976 after six years of active duty service.

Stan has lived in Gettysburg, PA with his wife Candi for the past 24 years. Stan worked in real estate and construction industries until 2003 and is currently involved in the antique and military book business. He is also a member of the the Gettysburg Battlefield Detachment of the Marine Corps League, Forty & Eight and is active in various Veterans activities and programs, in particular the Wounded Warriors and also a Board Member of the SGTMAC Foundation.

February 26, 2009

We are proud to welcome Julie Hoerth to our Board of Advisors

Our family has known Julie for 23 years, when her and Kim became friends in the first grade. She also knew Brian and has been involved with his Foundation from the beginning.

We can't count the number of times she helped us with copy editing, special events (some of you may recognize her as our 'right-hand' woman from the Medal of Honor Convention) or whenever we need her. She is definitely a person you can always count on!

Julie is a creative writer for Enzymatic Therapy, Inc.-the nation's leading dietary supplement company, located in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She also does freelance writing for area newspapers and other publications, and volunteers her time as a Wish Granter for the Make a Wish Foundation.

Julie enjoys any activity she can do outdoors, and loves spending time keeping her husband company in the kitchen - while he cooks. She is also an avid reader, and a huge fan of anything that makes her laugh out loud. Julie lives in DePere with her husband, Justin, who also loves a good laugh. They were married last August.

January 8, 2009

Brian’s Story featured in “A Second Wind”

In “A Second Wind”, Pastor Arni Jacobson and writer Robert Mims explore what happens when life’s greatest successes and spiritual victories are unexpectedly followed by stunning setbacks, doubt and depression. All these accounts are connected by the need for the spiritual equivalent of what all long-distance runners crave — the breath and grace to finish what remains ahead. That second wind is the blessing to rebound from victory-to-valley experiences to even greater triumphs in life.

The LaViolette family met Arni in 1992 shortly after his family had moved to Green Bay to start Bayside Christian Fellowship Church in Green Bay. Arni and his congregation became devoted supporters of his Foundation. He continues to support as he serves on Brian’s Foundation Board of Advisors.
Arni is a pastor, mentor, church planter, motivator, author, father, and grandfather. He has more than 30 successful years in ministry and has built dynamic churches in Merrill, Wisconsin; Salt Lake City, Utah; Salem, Oregon; and pioneered a church of more than 3,000 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Arni and his wife, Jan, have two children, and are very proud of their grandchildren.
For more information on Second Wind or how to obtain a copy please contact Arni at