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.

1 comment:

Hazel said...

Hi Doug ~ This is such a powerful photo and truly captures the somber levity of laying a true American hero like Len to rest. Thank you Doug, thank you Renee, thank you Kim, thank you for a Brian I never had the privilege to know. Len's goodness and honor will live in perpetuity through the work of the Brian LaViolette Foundation. It is a beautiful and honorable thing that you all do.

Thank you...
Hazel