November 20, 2015

Joe Welke Scholarship of Honor 2015 Recipient, Bradley Blansett

I would like to start by saying thank you for giving me this scholarship.  I am honored to receive it, my family and I could not have been more proud and joyous.  It was a pleasure meeting Riley, the gentleman whom presented the scholarship.  The ceremony was also one I will never forget.

When I heard of the Cpl Joe Welke Scholarship of Honor, I was very curious to see what it was about.  I did quite a bit of research and found out that it was not just a scholarship, but also an honor.  I told my friends about it and they had never heard of one with such an impressive back story.

It was 6:30 pm in  Rapid City Stevens Theater and the ceremony was about to start.  The assistant principals were announcing the students and what they were receiving for scholarships.  Some had full rides to Yale, Harvard, South Dakota State University and so forth.  Most students were members of the National Honor Society.

I was near the end when the principal said, “I would like to introduce Riley McManigal”.  Riley stood up from his seat and gave his speech about who he was and what the scholarship meant.  The audience was in awe of the history of the Joe Welke Scholarship of Honor.

What does the Joe Welke Scholarship mean to me?  It means an honor has been bestowed upon an individual, not just a scholarship.  My name is now associated with his and that means more than words can describe.  I feel blessed that it came with a $500.00 check.  I cannot thank you enouch for the money, it will really help towards getting my degree in Civil Enginnering. I also plan on participating in the ROTC and join the US Army as an Officer.

Thank you again,

Bradley Blansett

November 11, 2015

On Veterans Day, we remember a great man...

Bernard "Bernie" Neuville, served in the United States Marines during WWII.  He fought in the battle of Iwo Jima and was one of the few survivors in his platoon. As a Green Bay resident, it didn't take long for Doug LaViolette and Bernie to meet and they instantly had a memorable friendship.

Recently, Bernie's two sons, their wives and his daughter visited Doug at their home.  Bernie passed away at the age of 88 on August 8th--the same day Brian was lost 23 years ago.  His family shared stories about their dad and as they were leaving gave Doug a card which included a donation to Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation in memory of their Dad.  What a thoughtful and kind thing to do in Bernie's memory.  Their donation meant a lot to us and will invest in the future of our communities through scholarships to young men and woman who are making a difference in this world.
This beautiful flag his family stands by was a gift from Bernie many years ago.  It hangs proudly at the entrance of "Foundation Headquarters"

Bernie married the former Pearl Fabry on July 8, 1950, at St. Francis Church in Duvall, WI and celebrated 65 years of marriage this past July. He was employed by Nabisco for over 30 years retiring in 1988. Bernie was a member of the Sullivan-Wallen VFW Post No. 0011.

Bernie and Pearl were longtime members of St. Philip the Apostle Parish. He was instrumental in starting and organizing their parish picnics for many years. His favorite pastimes included collecting and trading antiques, woodworking and making his famous "cherry bounce".  His love for Door County has carried thru to his children and grandchildren. After retirement, he started downhill skiing and enjoyed many family ski trips to Powderhorn Mountain.

Bernie, thank you for all you for our country, your family and those you meant along the way... including our family and the Foundation.