December 27, 2012

Waupun High Alumni Remembered With Scholarship Of Honor

We are proud to announce the establishment of the Rachel Bosveld Scholarship of Honor.  It will be awarded this coming spring at Waupun High School, where Rachel graduated from in 2002.

Bob and Darlene Nueske have known the Bosveld family for years and were touched by Rachel’s story. She was the first woman from Wisconsin to die in the Iraqi conflict and was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and her 2nd Purple Heart on what would have been her 20th birthday.   The Nueske’s are the generous sponsors of this annual award at Waupun High School, where she graduated from in 2002.  Rachel joined the Army upon graduation.

“Darlene and I have known Rachel’s family since our teenage years.  After Rachel was lost, we always wondered, just what could we do?  As I became closely involved with the Brian LaViolette Foundation, the vision was clear,” Bob Nueske states.  “The Rachel Bosveld Scholarship of Honor means a great deal to us, as we know the community and students of Waupun High School will always remember this brave young woman and also be inspired to make a difference in their life.”

Her brother Craig described his sister as an artist who loved to draw forest scenes, play the violin and act in her high school drama club. She hoped one day to become a graphic artist.

“I’m grateful for the Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation and to Bob and Darlene Nueske for making the scholarship possible,” said Marvin Bosveld, Rachel’s father. “She was honored to serve, to be able to go and I was proud to have her serve.”

The Rachel Bosveld Scholarship of Honor will be awarded to a student who plans to enter into our armed forces or into the fields of public safety or community service.  These noble fields include education, ministry, police science, fire safety and medical fields.

“Rachel was a very energetic, happy go lucky, giving person and I think her thoughts were always helping other people in any situation and those who were less fortunate,” said Rachel’s mother, Mary Bosveld.  

We look forward to paying tribute to this amazing young woman every year.

December 4, 2012

Living with Honor

This past May, Brian’s Foundation established the Sal Giunta Scholarship of Honor at JFK High school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where Sal graduated from in 2003. It was a very special evening for this Medal of Honor Recipient as he presented the first annual scholarship in his name paying tribute to Sgt. Joshua Brennan and Spc. Hugo Mendoza.

Sal was back in his home town last week for his first ever book signing. Living with Honor was released today. He has now put his experiences serving into a memoir by himself with Joe Layden.

More than 300 people turned out to the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Cedar Rapids to pick up his new book and hear Sal speak. "I didn't expect this, not in a million years, this is cool,he states. "I think it's a story that needs to be told because us, as Americans, enjoy so many freedoms every single day without having to worry about it personally, but there are people that go out every single day and worry about our freedoms. They worry on our behalf and fight on our behalf and I think that's very important.”

Sal's interview from the Today Show aired December 2nd and can also be accessed here: Today Show interview

Pick up a copy of Living with Honor today at a bookstore near you.

November 22, 2012

THANK you.

It is getting cold out there. Even though it happens every year, it seems to take awhile to adjust to the cool days and dark nights. Yet, this time of year reminds me of the simple things I am grateful for... a warm place to live, blankets, winter hats and warm hugs.
Brian LaViolette
After our simple needs are met, we are able to reflect on other aspects of our lives we are grateful for.

Through Brian's Foundation, we are blessed to work with a lot of amazing individuals. Many we communicate with on a regular basis and some our paths may cross only once, but they remain in our hearts. We have the privileged to work with many families and be a small part of their lives.

Working with schools worldwide, we experience eye-opening cultures and the differences in each. The recipients we assist and inspire warm our hearts on these cool nights.

 Our family is so, very thankful.

October 10, 2012

The Times are a Changin'

Social media has made a big impact in this world. Please help us keep up with this effective way of sharing our story through our website, facebook and linkedin. By clicking on the icons below, you can share with friends, family and coworkers.

If you are a proud sponsor of Brian's Foundation, a past scholarship recipient or have seen the impact we have in the communities we serve, we encourage you share with others.

These changing times allow us to share in each others journey!

A big thanks to Envano for working with Brian's Foundation on our interactive marketing!  

September 12, 2012

Five Scholarships presented in Poland

It is hard to believe that 9 years has passed since we awarded our first scholarship in Poland.  Brian's Foundation has presented 53 scholarships so far through the Nidzica Foundation.  Thanks to this years' sponsors, the Robert Nueske Family, Dr. and Sue Smullen and the Weyers Family Foundation 5 students received scholarships the first part of September.

They were awarded to (left to right):  

Mateusz SmoliƄski-Management and Engineering  Production, The Main School of  Rural Farm  in Warsaw

Daniel Traczewski-Economics /Finance and Accounting/Computer Science and Econometrics, University of Warsaw

Karolina Pawlowska, National Security, Naval Academy in Gdynia

Magdalena Dobrowolska- Internal Security, University of Warsaw

Renata Bruzdziak-Finance and Accounting, The Main Trade School in Warsaw

September 7, 2012

2008 Scholarship recipient donates back to Brian's Foundation

When Ben Fischl received the Brian LaViolette Scholarship in 2008 he stated, "As if I wasn't excited enough to go into the Academy, now I have a great legacy to carry with me," referring to Brian LaViolette and the mission of his foundation.

As with all of our scholarship recipients, he is special to us. Over the last 4 years, we have seen him grow even more passionate and more determined to make a difference.

Ben with Doug and Renee LaViolette in 2008

When we met Ben at the age of 18, we knew he had great compassion for others and life in general. We see it shine through him even more as he begins his last year at the Air Force Academy. 

Last year, we received an email from Ben stating that his loans have been paid off and he knew that this scholarship was meant for school expenses. After figuring out what other school costs he'd have this next year, he knew he'd have some of the funds left over. He donated $1,000 back to Brian's Foundation. Compassion.

Ben joined us at 'What's Right with America' on 11.11.11 and inspired the audience.

"I think it is so important to do for others exactly what has been done for you. I want future generations to be blessed by Brian's scholarship in the same way that I was," Ben stated on why he decided to give back to the Foundation.

After his sophomore year, Ben....Continue reading here!

August 30, 2012

Part of Jet Air event proceeds to benefit Brian's Foundation!

The Jet Air Group of Green Bay, Wisconsin is throwing a big event on October 19th and graciously donating the proceeds to Brian's Foundation and the Honor Flight Network.   

It is going to be a good one!  Let Me Be Frank Productions is performing an all new musical that you will not want to miss. There will be dinner, vintage photos, live auction and more!

Please join us on October won't be sorry!  For more details, please see below and call Jet Air at 920-494-2669.

You'll be glad you did!

August 9, 2012

A fresh look to Brian's Foundation!

20 years ago on August 8th, we knew our lives would never be the same. And they weren't. What we didn't know was that so many lives would also change because of the loss of Brian on August 8, 1992.

Brian in the Summer of 1992

This feeling is bittersweet. We miss Brian so so much. But we are also very proud of what the foundation in his name and memory has become.

We are pleased to announce the fresh look to the Brian LaViolette Foundation. The changes are subtle, but important.

We are bringing Brian into the redesigned logo. Our original logo shown below had 3 people over water. Now 4 people are represented. Brian is represented by the white figure and the spirit he left behind.

The other three figures symbolize Doug, Renee and Kim LaViolette who established the foundation in Brian's name and memory 20 years ago this month.

The wave below continues to represent the Bay of Green Bay where Brian drowned. Three steps in the wave symbolize the steps filled with hope by the LaViolette family and the journey to higher education for our scholarship recipients.

Arketype's talented team contributed the new design. 

Brian and Kim during a Florida vacation

As we reflect on this hard day for our family, we are thankful for all that the Foundation has accomplished in Brian's name.  We look forward to continuing this amazing journey with you...

Thank you, 

Doug, Renee and Kim

August 6, 2012

Everyday We Are Reminded...

Everyday we are  reminded of the courage and sacrifice of our brave men and women serving our country in uniform.

On a daily basis, we have the privilege of sharing their stories and today as a family we wanted to share that of 1st Lieutenant Todd Lambka, who wrote in part '' I will serve humbly and honorably to the best of my ability in Peacetime and in combat leading soldiers in our Military, representing the greatest Nation''

Todd with his twin brother Jordan who also serves and father Brian.
Todd graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy in 2010 and we were lucky enough to be introduced to him when he received the 2010 Robert Foley Scholarship of Honor.

His life has always been an example of personal determination, a true role-model for his family, friends and the men and women he lead in battle.

Sadly, on August 1st, First Lieutenant Todd W. Lambka was killed along with Private First Class Jesus J. Lopez of San Bernardino, CA while on patrol. They died in Paktika Province of wounds sustained during an attack with a roadside bomb and another improvised explosive device. They were assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, out of Fort Riley, Kansas.

Paying tribute to 1LT Todd Lambka and PFC Jesus J. Lopez 
After Todd received the scholarship, he wrote a very long, heartfelt letter, part of which included:

"I am humbled and extremely honored to be chosen to receive this significant award, the LTG (R) Robert Foley Scholarship of Honor, and I am equally touched that I can now be part of the Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation and can only promise that I will serve humbly and honorably to the best of my ability in Peacetime and in combat in part to honor the memory of Brian and all that he did on earth, as well as continue the proud tradition in joining the Long Gray Line and living “DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY.”

Today, I finish a significant chapter in my life, graduating from West Point, but I begin to embark on a more significant chapter… leading soldiers in our Military, representing the greatest Nation… indeed, as I begin my life as an Officer in the Profession of Arms… it is clearly evident to me… the “Journey is the Reward!”--2nd Lt. Todd W Lambka, 22 May 2010.

We too are humbled and promise to honor and remember you now and always.

 Doug , Renee and Kim LaViolette

July 25, 2012

Special night at EAA

It was a special night for Brian’s Foundation at yesterday’s EAA AirVenture. We awarded the 9th annual Tom Hudner Scholarship of Honor at EAA’s First Wing Dinner. Medal of Honor recipient and great man, Tom Hudner was in from Maryland to present the scholarship to Lucas Benish.

2012 Tom Hudner Scholarship of Honor recipient, Lucas Benis with Tom Hudner
Ever since he can remember, Luke has been fascinated with flight.Whether it was attending the annual EAA AirVenture or just looking up as any aircraft flew overhead. It’s an understatement, to say he’s excited and proudly looking forward to a future in the aviation industry and would like to study a branch of engineering. After college he would like to join the U.S. Military or pursue a civilian engineering career and work as an aerospace engineer for an agency like NASA or a company like Boeing.

Last years recipient, Margaret Viola was also able to join!

July 24, 2012

A community coming together to honor a local hero...

"I don’t think we could possibly honor Danny enough or his family for their service to our country and the hard work and sacrifice they have all made to defend our freedom."-Steve Miller of Texas Roadhouse in Sheridan, Colorado.

The Grand Opening of Texas Roadhouse in Sheridan, Colorado was dedicated in Honor of Navy SEAL Danny Dietz.  
David Carter created this beautiful mural which hangs on the wall of the restaurant.
They went above and beyond.  Not only does this beautiful mural of Danny and his fellow men hang in the restaurant, but the funds raised from their opening night went to the Danny Dietz Scholarship of Honor endowment. The night raised more than they had envisioned...$7227.81.   $1,250 will now be awarded annually--forever--in Danny’s name!
Danny's mom, Cindy is pictured here Jake Hart and Steve Miller of Texas Roadhouse

The Danny Dietz Scholarship of Honor was established 6 years ago at Heritage High School.  Danny was a 1999 graduate there and joined the Navy three months later.  While in high school, he played football his senior year and was active in weight training and swimming.  Danny had two weeks left of service in Afghanistan when he was killed on June 28, 2005.  

July 14, 2012

We welcome Al Timmerman to our Board of Advisors!

Al Timmerman is a graduate of the FBI Academy in Quantico VA.  He retired after 34 years of Law Enforcement with the Green Bay Police Department and the Ashwaubenon Department of Public Safety. 

He also served as Interim Public Safety Director for the Village of Ashwaubenon, managing police, fire and EMS services. Al is currently a partner and CEO of Jet Air Group, Austin Straubel International Airport.

Al’s passion is flying his helicopter. He has flown 238 young eagles for EAA programs.  His three grandchildren, ages 7,4 and 1 also keep him very busy.

We are thrilled to have Al as our newest member of the Brian LaViolette Foundation Board of Advisors.  He and Jet Air have been great supporters and share the passion for our mission. Jet Air is hosting an event, The Golden Age of Aviation, on October 19th and Brian’s Foundation is one of the beneficiary. Click here for more details: Golden Age of Aviation event. We can't thank them enough!

July 10, 2012


Last week, we received an update from last years' Brian LaViolette Scholarship recipient, Nikitha Murali. 

She told us about her first year of college and all we can say is WOW.  

After our selection interview with her, we knew she was special and would go on to do great things, but everything she has accomplished in one year is astonishing.  
Nikitha with the LaViolette's after the 2011 Scholarship presentation 
Nikitha is getting ready for her second year at the University of Chicago. She's currently pursuing a degree in Comparative Human Development, which means she is studying neurology, anthropology, biology, and psychology.
She has a minor in biology with plans to ultimately go to medical school. 

Prior to attending college, she had accomplished a lot, including organizing a medical health camp in a small village in India during her years at Ashwaubenon High School.  While that was quite the undertaking, it pales in comparison to what she has done her first year in college.

To read more about Nikitha's first year of college, please click here Niktha's first year of college..  You are sure to be 'wowed'.

July 9, 2012

20 years ago...

We awarded our first scholarship at DePere High School in Wisconsin...

...and this year marked our 500th scholarship. By the end of 2012, we will have awarded 534 scholarships to date!  We couldn't have done it without your support and encouragement.  Thank you.

June 12, 2012

News right to your email inbox!

Do you receive our email newsletter?  We send them out once or twice a month and it is a great way keep updated on Brian's Foundation and our scholarship recipients.  And the news comes right to your inbox!

Our latest email newsletter

If you haven't signed up yet, please do so here...and tell your friends too!

May 28, 2012

Moved by a moment thousands of miles from home....a note from Doug LaViolette

Three weeks ago I had the privilege to spend time in Normandy, France and witness one of the most moving moments of my life. 

It was my first visit to one of the most hallowed places on earth. What I will remember most, is one of last things I saw. 

Leaving the Normandy Beach Memorial Museum, 
I discovered a single display that needs no words to describe 
the loss and love of one country to another.

I snapped this photo as a young French student was sharing this moment with a friend.

I will always wonder what she was ''saying'' as she emailed the picture she had just taken.  There is no doubt in my mind, it was profound and moving.

You see, I've learned that in these far away lands, they not only appreciate their freedom....

they remember why they are free and are teaching their children who gave them that freedom.  

May 22, 2012

Community and Business Come Together to Honor Local Hero and Raise Funds for a Scholarship in his Name

The Grand Opening of Texas Roadhouse in Littleton, Colorado was dedicated in Honor of Navy SEAL Danny Dietz.  

It was also a fundraiser for the Danny Dietz Scholarship of Honor endowment. The night raised $6878.93, which brought the endowment to a point that $1,250 can be awarded annually--forever--in Danny’s name!

David Carter created this beautiful mural which hangs on the wall of Texas Roadhouse
The Danny Dietz Scholarship of Honor was established 6 years ago at Heritage High School.  Danny was a 1999 graduate there and joined the Navy three months later.  While in high school, he played football his senior year and was active in weight training and swimming.  Danny had two weeks left of service in Afghanistan when he was killed on June 28, 2005.  

The Scholarship of Honor Program through Brian's Foundation recognizes a graduating high school senior with plans to enlist in the military or pursue a career in public safety or community service. These noble fields include fire safety, police science, teaching, nursing, EMT, ministry and more.  

The mission of the Scholarship of Honor  
'To honor, to remember, those who serve while recognizing dedication, community service and selflessness in those who follow in their footsteps"

May 10, 2012

Changing the World

"This is such a tremendous honor for me to be able to come back and say I'm giving back to the community that helped raise me," said Sal Guinta at John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on May 1st.
Medal of Honor recipient, Sal Giunta presented the first annual Sal Giunta Scholarship of Honor at his alma mater.  This scholarship is special, because it honors the two soldiers he tried to save, Sgt. Joshua Brennan and Spc. Hugo Medndoza. 

Abi Gray is this years recipient  She has applied to the United States Air Force Academy and plans on studying Areospace Engineering. In Abi's words, "I want to help my community and country as much as I am able so that I can give others the same feeling of gratuity to this country that I experience every day."

When asked about the Scholarship of Honor, Sal replied, ""I'm so proud of that. I think anytime you have people trying to help people it's a good thing and I want to do a good thing. People helping people is positive," said Guinta.

“I can't even dream this stuff up. It's just wild how not part of my plan this was, and how great of a new plan this has created for me,"

Please take a few minutes to view this wonderful news story on our first annual Sal Giunta Scholarship of Honor at JFK High School in Cedar Rapids, IA as well as the growth of Brian's Foundation

April 2, 2012

Our first Scholarship recipient of the year!

Adam Tisch of Pulaski High School (pictured 2nd from the left) received our Junior Achievement Scholarship during this year’s Business Challenge. His team, Double A Inc. with Adam Stczynski earned 2nd place and they will compete later this month at the Wisconsin JA Statewide Business Challenge Championship.

They are pictured with their mentors, Lonni Hampton and Jim Olson of Schenck SC.

Inspiring Lives One Scholarship at a Time

Are any of these scholarships in your area?  Please see the presentation dates and locations below..

Junior Achievement-Awarded during Business Challenge on February 18th

Victoria Parmentier Scholarship: Ashwaubenon High School, WI--May 16th at 6:30

Brian LaViolette Scholarship: Partners in Education Youth Celebration, WI--May 22nd at 7:00pm

Ken Kubsch Scholarship: Manitowoc High School,WI-- May 23rd 7:00pm

Ollie Bogsted Scholarship: Suring High School, WI-- May 26

“The Journey is the Reward” Scholarship: Suring High School, WI--May 26

Above and Beyond Scholarship: Oconto High School, WI-- May 30 7:30pm

Esther Cleveland Safford Scholarship: Oconto High School, WI-- May 30 7:30pm

Robert Safford Scholarship: Oconto High School, WI-- May 30 7:30pm

“The Journey is the Reward” Scholarship: Oconto High School, WI--May 30 7:30pm

South Africa Scholarship: LEAP School Science and Math, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa--Summer of 2012

NWTC: for Oconto and Suring High School, WI-- Fall 2012

Poland Scholarships (5): Nidzica Foundation Award Ceremony, Nidzica Poland--Fall 2012

St. Norbert Scholarships (4): DePere, WI --October 2012

March 29, 2012

2012 Scholarship of Honor Presentation Dates

Almost all of the Scholarship of Honor presentation dates have been set!  Please see if there is one in your area:

Joel Gentz: Purdue University, IN--April 20

Sal Giunta: JFK High School, Cedar Rapid, IA—May 1, 6:30 pm

General George S. Patton: Pilsen Czech Republic,-- May 5

Matt Atkinson Community SOH: Green Bay East, WI—May 14, 7:00pm

Danny Dietz: Heritage High School, Littleton CO--May 14, 6:30pm

Joe Welke: Rapid City Stevens High School, SD-- May 14, 7:00pm

James Cathey: Reno High School, NV-- May 16, 7:00pm

Ron Sager: Fox Valley Lutheran High School, WI--May 16, 9:00am

John Bradley: Appleton West High School, WI-- May 16, 6:30pm

Isaiah Hunt: Bayport High School, WI-- May 18, 9:00am

Andrew Brownfield: North High School Akron, OH –May 18, 8:30am

Robert Foley: United States Military Academy, West Point NY-- May 22, 2:30pm

Len Keller: Auburn High School, Rockford IL--May 22nd

Ryan Jerabek: Pulaski High School auditorium, WI-- May 23, 8:30am

Ben Edinger: Green Bay West High School, WI-- May 23, 6:00pm

Brent Vroman: Omro High School, WI May 23, 6:00pm

Kyle Hemauer: Chilton High School, WI-- May 23, 7:00pm

Ken Hess: Reynolds High School, Asheville NC--May 25 7:00pm

Jesse Thiry: Luxemburg-Casco High School, WI-- May 25, 9:00am

Ken Stumpf, Elmer Burr: Menasha High School, WI—May 29, 9:30am

Nichole Frye: Lena High School, WI-- May 30, 7:30pm

Eric McColley: Gettysburg High School, PA-- May 30, 7:00pm

Mike Colalillo: Denfeld High School, MN—May 31, 7:00pm

Tom Hudner: EAA-Airventure, Oshkosh, WI-- July 24, 6:00pm

Nainoa Hoe: 1Lt Nainoa K. Hoe Battle Command Training Center, Schofield Barracks, HI August 28

March 12, 2012

The Coveted Green Jacket!

Every signature represents a chapter in Masters history.  Each champion of the greatest golf tournament played today has been awarded their own coveted Green Jacket.   30 of them have signed this one.

You now have an opportunity to own this piece of history, and at the same time help deserving students fulfill their dreams of a higher education. 

For more details on how you can help continue the dream and at the same time own this piece of American history, please contact Doug LaViolette at 920-655-4098. 

March 7, 2012

Medal of Honor Recipient shares selfless passion at JFK High School

It had been over 40 years since a living Medal of Honor recipient was awarded our nation's highest military honor. SSG Sal Giunta was the first living recipient of the 911 Generation to earn the Medal of Honor for his actions on October 25, 2007.

We are proud to announce the first annual Sal Giunta Scholarship of Honor will be awarded in May. It will be our first scholarship established in Iowa.

The Sal Giunta Scholarship of Honor will be awarded annually at his alma mater, John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The scholarship will honor the soldiers he tried to save, Sgt. Josh Brennan and Spc. Hugo Mendoza. It will continue Sal's legacy and allow Sgt. Brennan and Spc. Mendoza's spirit to live on.

"I think helping people is a noble and honorable thing and I want to be as much a part of it as I can," said Giunta on the Scholarship of Honor being established at JFK High.

Staff Sgt. Giunta is a genuine American hero who was humbled about accepting the Medal of Honor from President Obama in 2010. He is committed to saluting the two fallen warriors who died that day.

Sgt Joshua Brennen graduated high school in 2003 in Ontario. He spent his summers living with his father in McFarland, WI.
This was his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. Sgt. Brennan was awarded the Bronze Star for valor during his first tour of duty. He also received a Purple Heart after being shot in the leg in August 2007. 
SSG Giunta was tight with Sgt. Brennan; they trained together and traveled around Italy, where they were based... "He was athletic, smart, funny, always someone you could count on."

Spc. Hugo Mendoza was an avid churchgoer who dreamed of becoming a firefighter, He graduated from Trevor Browne High School in 1997 and enlisted as an Army Medic in 2005. 

With a big smile and instinctive tendency toward helping those in need, he deployed to Europe and then to the Middle East with his unit, he would make sure to call his mom in Detroit whenever he could.

SSG Giunta comments, "He truly cared about other people more than he did about himself." And, as a bonus: "He knew the best jokes."

February 20, 2012

We welcome back Allan Jamir to Brian's Board of Advisors!

Allan Jamir (‘Jammer’) was one of the original board members of Brian’s Foundation back in 1992.  We welcome him back to our Board of Advisors!  Jammer retired last month from Camera Corner Connecting Point as the VP of Community Relations.  

He states,"Being on the board provides an amazing feeling of purpose. I never had the pleasure of meeting Brian in flesh yet I know his spirit is all around us in how we think and how we honor students and our military men and women defending our freedom, liberty and way of life. It is my honor to serve Brian as member of the board." 

Jammer is one of the most involved members of the Green Bay community that we know. He is a great ‘big brother’ to 10 year old Baylee and a board member through Big Brother Big Sisters.  Other organizations he works with include (but not limited to), Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, Heritage Hill Foundation, Scholarships Inc, St. Norbert President’s Advisory Council, UWGB MLK-Caesar Chavez Scholarship Advisory Council, Golden House and Junior Achievement.

He and his lovely wife Penny have 9 God Children and enjoys fly-fishing, ballroom dancing, golfing, traveling, cooking and helping to bring out the best in our community through community service. And that he does.

February 14, 2012

Update from our South African Scholarship recipient

Andisani Tsengiwe has received our South African Scholarship for the 4th year in a row. Sponsors, Paul and Gloria Zimmerman decided to award the recipient for 4 years of his or her school, to assure they continue their eduction. Andisani continues to change the lives of those around him through his schooling. We are very proud of him!
Andisani pictured here with John Gilmour,
Director of LEAP school of Science and Math in S. Africa

"I decided to become a teacher because I love working with people and seeing positive change happening to me and the people around me. I am currently studying at UNISA (University of South Africa). I am majoring in English, my mother tongue language (IsiXhosa) and psychology as my back up subject. I love to involve myself with sports, especially soccer. I love to engage with people around me, getting to know people in a real and honest way.” Andisani

February 4, 2012

Brian's Foundation teams up with MilSpec Tours!

We are excited to team up with MilSpec Tours for Veterans!  MilSpec Tours will graciously donate $100 to the General George S. Patton Scholarship of Honor fund on behalf of every member who participates in their Pilsen Liberation Festival tour.

Every year, the historic city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic gathers to celebrate the liberation of their city by General Patton's 3rd Army. People gather from around the world to enjoy the festivities and say 'thank you'.

As part of the Pilsen Liberation Festival, the first General George S Patton Scholarship of Honor will be ceremonially awarded by General Patton’s grandson George Patton Waters and WW II veteran Marion Kirkham in honor of his brother Virgil Kirkham, killed near Pilsen on April 30 1945, the last recorded American USAAF pilot killed in Europe during WWII.  You can find more details on the scholarship at General Patton Scholarship

Please consider joining MilSpec Tours on a one-of-a-kind tour! Download a copy of their brochure here: Pilsen/European Tour with MilSpecs

We can't thank them enough for partnering with Brian's Foundation! 

January 30, 2012

We welcome Fran Anderson, Brian's Aunt to our Board of Advisors!

Fran will serve in conjunction with her husband Ron, who is currently on the Board.

Fran is retired from a 30 year career serving in managerial and executive positions in residential and health care facilities.  She enjoys spending time with family, golfing and outdoor activities. Her and Ron have been involved with Brian's Foundation since the beginning and we are excited to have her on board!

January 23, 2012

20 Years-20 accomplishments

35 years ago today, Brian came into this world. 
20 years ago this year, we established the Brian LaViolette Foundation.

When we established Brian's Foundation, we had no idea what would become of it.  We had a vision of keeping our promise to him to accomplish great things in his name and memory, but we weren't sure how it would all go. 

Establishing a non-profit 501c3 foundation was something we had never done.  There were dozens of questions, but one stood out, 'would we continue with just one scholarship at Brian's High School or would we expand?' The only way to know was to try.  So we did.

20 years, 20 milestone accomplishments

It is hard to single out 20 accomplishments over our 20 years as a Foundation, but again, we will try.
  1. Building on the $21,000 we received at Brian's funeral, we successfully became a 501c3 Foundation, awarding our first Brian LaViolette Scholarship at DePere High School in 1993.
  2. Creating "The Journey is the Reward Collection"-a series of inspirational prints and Green Bay Packers Hats embroidered with the Packer's NFL emblem.
  3. Expanding from one scholarship to eight in 1997. 
  4. Partnering with Scholarships Inc. to award the Distinguished Student Awards in Brown and Door County, WI.  We presented 26 scholarships in 1999!
  5. That same year, on 9.9.99, we held our first Celebrity Autograph Auction, including a Mercedes Benz raffle.
  6. Publishing "The Journey is the Reward" book, co-authored by Karoyn Gazella.
  7. Having a successful "Journey to the Stars" event with Henry Winkler.. yes, the 'Fonz'.
  8. Creating the Scholarship of Honor Program in 2003 to honor our military heroes.
  9. Expanding worldwide to Poland, eventually awarding 7 annual scholarships there.
  10. Hiring the Foundation's first and only full-time employee in 2006, Brian's Sister, Kim.
  11. Spearheading the national 2007 Medal of Honor Convention in Green Bay, WI, involving the entire community and nation in 26 memorable events.
  12. Expanding 'headquarters' to another rent-free location in North Carolina.
  13. Establishing a scholarship in South Africa..
  14. Being granted a Public Charity Foundation designation.
  15. Trademarking "The Journey is the Reward".
  16. Having part of our website in the Czech language after the General George Patton Scholarship was established in Pilsen, Czech Republic.
  17. Honoring and remembering 30 others, in addition to Brian, with scholarships in their names.
  18. Celebrating 'What's Right with America' on 11.11.11 inspiring a worldwide audience and awarding the first Brian LaViolette Spirit Awards.
  19. 2012 marks the year that we will grow and award scholarships in 13 states and 3 foreign countries.
  20. This year also marks the year that we will present our 500th scholarship!

January 18, 2012

Mike Colaillo, WWII Medal of Honor Recipient passes away at 86

We are sadden by the loss of Minnesota's last living Medal of Honor Recipients, Mike Colalillo.  In 2005, Brian's Foundation established the Mike Colalillo Scholarship of Honor at Denfeld High School in Duluth, MN.
Mike Colalillo holding the Scholarship of Honor Medal in  2005

Mike graduated from Denfeld High School in 1944. One year later, while serving in World War II, Colalillo went above and beyond the call of duty leading his men on an attack against enemy forces in Germany. In the face of savage artillery, machinegun fire, and almost certain death, he was committed to protecting others on the battlefield, and our freedoms here at home. President Truman presented Colalillo the Medal of Honor on December 18, 1945.
Mike with Guy and Karen Smith, good friends of Mike's and sponsor of the
Mike Colalillo Scholarship of Honor at Denfeld High School

He was a wonderful, humble man who will be missed by his community and his country.