Sal Giunta, special guest speaker on August 8th

Salvatore "Sal“ Augustine Giunta was born on January 21, 1985 in Clinton, Iowa. The oldest of three children of Steven—a medical equipment technician and Rosemary—a pre-school teacher, Giunta grew up in Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha, Iowa. At age 18, while working in a Subway sandwich shop, he decided to enlist and he joined the Army in November 2003. He attended Infantry One Station Unit Training and the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, before being assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy, on May 24, 2004. Promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant in 2009, Giunta completed two combat tours to Afghanistan totaling 27 months of deployment.

On October 25, 2007, while conducting a patrol as team leader, Giunta and his team were navigating through the treacherous terrain of Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley when they were ambushed by a well-armed and well-coordinated insurgent force. While under heavy enemy fire, Giunta immediately sprinted towards cover and engaged the enemy. Seeing that his squad leader had fallen and believing that he had been injured, Giunta exposed himself to withering enemy fire and raced towards his squad leader, helped him to cover and administered medical aid. While administering first aid, enemy fire struck Giunta’s body armor and his secondary weapon. Without regard to the ongoing fire, Giunta engaged the enemy before prepping and throwing grenades, using the explosions for cover in order to conceal his position. Attempting to reach additional wounded fellow soldiers who were separated from the squad, Giunta and his team encountered a barrage of enemy fire that forced them to the ground. The team continued forward and upon reaching the wounded soldiers, Giunta realized that another soldier was still separated from the element. Giunta then advanced forward on his own initiative. As he crested the top of a hill, he observed two insurgents carrying away an American soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other. Upon reaching the wounded soldier, he began to provide medical aid, as his squad caught up and provided security.

For his extraordinary gallantry, unrivaled courage and selfless leadership in action on October 25, 2007, Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony on November 16, 2010. Staff Sgt. Giunta was the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq or Afghanistan, the first living service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War and the eighth service member to receive the nation’s highest military decoration for valor in Iraq and Afghanistan. His other military decorations include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal w/oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, two Army Good Conduct Medals and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal to name a few.

He retired from the Army in June 2011 and is the author of Living with Honor (2012). He currently resides in Colorado with his wife Jennifer Giunta and two children.

More details on our 25th anniversary event

Lambeau Field, August 1992

Lambeau Field, August 1992

August 8th marks the 25th anniversary of when Brian's life was lost in a swimming accident. That same day, we were supposed to be at Lambeau Field, as a family, to attend the Green Bay Packers first preseason game. Plans changed and that brings us to today...heading back to Lambeau Field to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation. 

On the evening of August 8th...

  • Hear from scholarship recipients and others who have been involved with Brian's Foundation since the beginning and ultimately have made the world a better place.
  • Bid on unique and fun items during our live and silent auction.
  • Enjoy a performance by former Miss Wisconsin and Brian LaViolette scholarship recipient Kimberly Sawyer Larsen.
  • Be inspired by special guest speaker, Medal of Honor Recipient, Sal Giunta. 
  • Witness the surprise presentation of the Brian LaViolette Spirit Award to four community leaders who are committed to improving their community and Brian's Foundation.

The schedule for the event is...

4:30-5:25       Meet a true American hero, Medal of Honor Recipient, Sal Giunta during an exclusive book signing for those attending this event.  The reception will be open to our guests during that time. 

5:30-6:25        Reception and Silent Auction 

6:30                Dinner is served

7:15                Evening Program

You can find more details and see our sponsors here.

If you would like to be involved in this milestone anniversary, please contact me at 828-242-3790 or or Doug LaViolette at 920-655-4098.

A Promise Made, A Promise Kept

A 25 Year Journey…

For the past 25 years the Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation has been changing lives through scholarships awarded to high school seniors. It began with a single scholarship in Brian’s name, with the promise of great things being accomplished in his memory.

With the formation of the Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation that single scholarship grew to over 50 annual scholarships in Wisconsin, 14 other states and three foreign countries. In addition to bearing Brian’s name, the scholarships were expanded to remember the lives of so many other individuals who served our communities and country.

To date 781 scholarships have been awarded to students with the same vision of doing great things for their community.

After 25 years, Brian’s Foundation is celebrating their accomplishments and the countless lives touched by Brian’s inspirational words, “The Journey is the Reward.”

On August 8, 2017 witness how a single promise made, and kept, continues to inspire others. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Lambeau Field Legends Club Room

Three recipients for the Ray Zimmerman Scholarship

Gloria Zimmerman and her husband Paul, established the Ray Zimmerman Scholarship three years ago at West High School in honor of Paul's father who was a former teacher.

Paul Zimmerman past away last October and in honor of his life, two additional scholarships were awarded by Gloria at the award ceremony last week. 

Her speech shared a little more about each recipeint...

First, Cora Shefchik.  She will be attending Loras College and majoring in Political Science to pursue a career as a Child Law Attorney Advocate.  She wants to help children have a voice and be a strong helpful person that they can rely on. 

Next, Sarah Snyder.  She will be attending either Wisconsin Lutheran or Concordia University.  Her courses of study will be Chemistry and Pre-Pharmacy.  While in college she would love to go on a mission trip and participate in community services as a way to ‘paying it forward’.

Lastly, Katelyn Stasck.  She will be attending Silver Lake College.  Her field of study will be Biology/Pre-medicine with plans to attend medical school for cardiology.  Her decision to pursue this field of study is due to the impact a neurosurgeon had on her family’s lives when he saved her father’s life. 

Each of these graduates wants to ‘pay it forward’ which was also the goal of Brian LaViolette.  It is something they have already been doing during their years here at West and it is truly an honor to present these scholarships to them. 

For more details on the Ray Zimmerman Scholarship, please visit

The power of Education.

"Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world." -Nelson Mandela.   

This was quoted in the essay of the 2017 Brian LaViolette Scholarship recipient, Rachel McMorrow.  We believe that she will change many lives in this world.

We surprised Rachel during her Human Anatomy class this week at West DePere High School.  

This scholarship award is $10,000 and will go to towards Rachel's education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she will pursue her dream of becoming a nurse.

 Left to Right-Principal Russ Gerke, Doug LaViolette, Rachel McMorrow,  Renee LaViolette, Kim LaViolette and Superintendent John Zegers.

Through the administrative help of Partners in Education, one student was selected from about 4,000 Seniors in the Green Bay district.  A student from each of the 17 schools applies.  The committee narrows it down to 5 and our family, along with Ashley of Partners in Education interview the finalists. 

This year, you have helped financially support and inspire the lives of 53 students, many families, teachers, counselors and all those that pay it forward through their service.