December 20, 2013

Medal of Honor recipient, Sal Giunta on Brian's Foundation and the scholarship in his name

The Sal Giunta Scholarship of Honor is 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.

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 person to receive the United States Armed Froces' highest decoration for valor for actions that occurred after the Vietnam War.

December 3, 2013

You still have a chance to see 'Return to Pilsen!'

General Patton's Grandson, George Patton Waters the night of 11.12.13
Thanks to WLUK-FOX 11 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, we were able to share and premiere a very special documentary on our General George S. Patton Scholarship of Honor in Pilsen Czech Republic on 11.12.13.

The documentary also highlights the love the citizens of the Czech Republic have for Americans for helping liberate their country.  You won't want to miss it!

The film rebroadcast, commercial-free thanks to Amerprise Auto and Home Insurance on these dates:

December 14 – 5:00 PM

And on on CW14
Sunday, December 8:00 AM at 12 noon

You can also view it online here!

December 2, 2013

What a night! 11.12.13

We knew the numerical day of 11.12.13 was a special one, but for Brian's Foundation it was amazing and memorable. We hope our 900 guests felt the same.

We packed a lot into one night, but thanks to dozens of folks behind the scenes and our amazing friend, board member and master of ceremonies, Darrel Burnett it was flawless.

As I sat next to Mom and Dad in the beautiful Meyer Theatre, I was in awe. I recognized many people from our community and also many people who I was seeing for the first time. The people around us laughed, they cried at touching moments and when they clapped I could feel their love and support with each sound.

Mayor Martin Baxa, Pilsen Czech Republic
We had many people who traveled to Green Bay, Wisconsin during the week of November 12th. For some it was their first time in the United States! The Mayor of Pilsen in the Czech Republic, Martin Baxa arrived at the very, very quiet Green Bay Airport on a Saturday night beaming, "This is my first time in the U.S." 

My first reaction to Mayor Baxa's comment was, "oh and it is winter weather here in Green Bay already" but we couldn't have been happier. Most of you know I live in North Carolina and when I travel back to Wisconsin, I am reminded of the kindness, the friendless and the warmth of the is the heartland of America.

FOX 11's Mark Leland in Pilsenthis past May
Mayor Baxa gave a heartfelt speech that night (In English!). It was very powerful and energized the audience. We will share his special speech and the entire evening with you when we receive the recording from the event. It was incredibly moving. 

One of the reasons for their visit was for the premiere viewing a documentary done by WLUK FOX 11 on Pilsen's liberation festival, their love for Americans and our Scholarship there. 

Another special moment was having our first Brian LaViolette Scholarship recipient in town from South Carolina. He is no stranger to the cold weather, since he grew up here and was actually friends with Brian. Thanks to a board member's donation of air miles he could join us! 

We loved having him with us and know the audience was happy to see our first recipient... 20 years later. 

 And there was MAGIC! Justin Flom was astounding and performed many tricks, including an interactive card trick with the audience. As you know there are 52 cards in a deck and we have 52 scholarships presented annually. The audiences' costume deck featured one of our scholarships on each card! 

Look at my face as he performed this one...ha ha,but seriously how did he do that?!  

The Green Bay Preble Chamber Choir performed beautifully. Several soloists were also past scholarship recipients! Green Bay Preble Chamber Choir We had many more impactful speeches and touching moments on 11.12.13, including that our 'foundation family' has grown even more. 

 *All these beautiful photos (except the one of Mark Leland) are by friend and board member, Kim Klein Photography