Festival remembers sacrifices of American Soldiers decades later

By George Patton Waters, grandson of Gen. George S. Patton

Have you ever wondered if the American soldier will be remembered for their sacrifices decades from now? I believe we’ve found the answer in a small town in the Czech Republic. 

For almost 30 years, the city of Pilsen has been honoring the American soldiers of World War II for giving them their freedom over seven decades ago.

Photo by City of Pilsen

Photo by City of Pilsen

On May 6, 1945, General George S. Patton‘s Third Army liberated the city of Pilsen from the Nazi strong hold. Sadly, Pilsen’s freedom was short-lived when in 1948 the Russians not only took control of the city, but began erasing all of the history and heroics of the American Army. In 1968, the Soviet Union and its allies had a full scale invasion with a mission to eradicate the remaining freedom of all Czech citizens.

That sad chapter in Czech history all changed in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell as did communism.

Since 1990, the city of Pilsen has celebrated their freedom with an annual Liberation Festival.

This year’s Liberation Festival takes place May 2-6, and you’re invited!

The citizens of Pilsen are so grateful to the American soldiers that they would like to invite all U.S. Army active-duty Soldiers and their families to attend this heartwarming tribute.

Those who have attended past Liberation Festivals have said it has profoundly changed their lives and how they look at the sacrifice of the American soldier past and present.

What’s even more moving is how this small city continues to remember the American Soldier 74 years after America’s fighting men liberated their city. 

Highlights of the Pilsen Liberation Festival include:  

  • The Convoy of Liberty with hundreds of actual World War II vehicles.

  • A discussion with World War II veterans sharing stories with students and their parents.

  • A number of public wreath laying ceremonies at monuments and memorials honoring and remembering the American Army. 

  • Meet World War II reenactors who have re-created World War II camp sites in breathtaking details.

  • Music for all ages. Live bands with music spanning decades.

  • A genuine outpouring of love and appreciation for America.

For all the details, visit http://slavnostisvobody.cz/en/program/main-program/.

One of the special moments includes a scholarship presentation by the Brian LaViolette Foundation from Green Bay, Wisconsin. The General George S. Patton Scholarship of Honor is presented to honor General Patton and remember sacrifices of the American Soldier. It is awarded to a graduating Pilsen area high school senior who has chosen to enter the military or pursue a career in public safety or community service. In essence, a cause greater than self. 

Patton‘s grandson, George Patton Waters, a veteran himself, will be on hand on behalf of the Patton family along with other Americans who have traveled from the mainland to join in on this heartwarming celebration.

“We hope all our Soldiers serving in Bavaria and all of Europe can join us in Pilsen and in doing so, we too can honor their service as well,” said Waters.

2019 Scholarship presentation dates

"I am grateful you thought I was a worthy candidate of this scholarship.  I can't wait to start my journey of forever helping others."   --Kelly Whiting, 2018 Ray Zimmerman Scholarship recipient, Green Bay West High School

We are proud to announce our 2019 scholarship presentation dates...a time when 53 students feel worthy of what they are doing to make a difference in the lives of others.

At this time of year, and always, we want to thank the hundreds of donors and sponsors for making educational dreams come true!

Sal Giunta: JFK High School, Cedar Rapid, IA- April 22, 6:00 pm

Joel Gentz: Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN- April 27, 5:00 pm   

Danny Dietz: Austin High School, Austin TX- May 2, 8:00 am

Danny Dietz: Heritage High School, Littleton, CO- May 3, 10:22 am

General George S. Patton: Pilsen, Czech Republic,- May 4, 6:30 pm

David Parmentier:  DePere High School, WI- May 7, 6:30 pm

Len Keller: Auburn High School, Rockford, IL- TBA

Kyle Hemauer: Chilton High School, WI-May 8, 7:00 pm

Matt Atkinson: Green Bay East High School, WI- May 13, 7:00 pm  

Brian LaViolette: TBD, May 14

Ron Sager: Fox Valley Lutheran High School, WI- May 15, 6:00pm 

Ollie and Helen Bogsted: Suring High School, WI- May 15, 2:00pm

"The Journey is the Reward": Suring High School, WI- May 15, 2:00pm

Ron Anderson: Suring High School- May 15, 2:00pm

NWTC Scholarship: Suring High School, WI- May 15, 2:00pm

Rachel Bosveld: Waupun High School, WI- May 15, 6:00 pm

Andrew Brownfield: North High School, Akron OH- May 17, 9:00 am

Thomas Hudner: Fox Valley Civil War Patrol- May 18th

Jerome Hatfield: Tunstall High School, Dry Fork VA-May 18, 8:45am

Riley Garbe: Freedom High School- May 19, 6:00pm

Ben Edinger: Green Bay West High School, WI- May 21, 5:30pm 

Ray Zimmerman: Green Bay West High School, WI- May 21, 5:30pm

Ken Hess: AC Reynolds High School, Asheville, NC- May 21, 6:00 pm

John Bradley: Appleton West High School, WI- May 22, 6:30pm

James Cathey: Reno High School, NV- May 22, 6:00 pm

Ken Kubsch: Manitowoc High School, WI- May 22, 7:00pm

Wendell and Shanna Ellsworth (2 scholarships): Belding High School, MI-May 22, 7:00 pm 

Nichole Frye: Lena High School, WI-May 22, 7:30 pm 

Ryan Jerabek: Pulaski High School, WI- May 22, 7:00 pm

Eric McColley: Gettysburg High School, PA-May 22, 7:00 pm

Victoria Parmentier Scholarship: Ashwaubenon High School, WI-May 22, 6:30

Brent Vroman: Omro High School, WI-May 22, 6:30 pm

Robert Foley: United States Military Academy, West Point NY- May 23rd

Isaiah Hunt: Bayport High School, WI- May 24, 9:00 am

Nueske Family (2 scholarships): Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School, WI-   May 29, 7:00 pm  

Jesse Thiry: Luxemburg Casco High School, WI, May 29, 9:00 am 

Above and Beyond Scholarship: Oconto High School, WI-May 29, 6:30 pm 

Esther Cleveland Safford: Oconto High School, WI- May 29, 6:30 pm  

Robert Safford: Oconto High School, WI- May 29, 6:30 pm 

"The Journey is the Reward": Oconto High School, WI-May 29, 6:30 pm  

NWTC Scholarship: Oconto High School, WI- May 29, 6:30 pm 

Ken Stumpf, Elmer Burr: Menasha High School, WI-June 3, 9:00 am 

Mike Colalillo: Denfeld High School, MN- TBA, 6:30pm

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

LEAP School Science and Math, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa-2019

Poland Scholarships: Nidzica Poland (2 scholarships)- September 2019

Bellin College Scholarship- Green Bay, WI- October 2019

St. Norbert Scholarships (2 scholarships): DePere, WI --October 2019

Junior Achievement- Business Challenge-Awarded February 2019

Second location of Danny Dietz Scholarship of Honor announced

2018- Dietz-Kate Russell.jpeg

“This scholarship means commitment.  It means sacrifice, service and above all, honor.  I am beyond grateful for not only the monetary reward of this scholarship but  the honor it bestows.  It opens so many more opportunities to serve and it gives me the confidence and encouragement to continue on this path I am taking.  Even though it is different than Danny’s, I still will serve with his same heart and bravery.“

Kate Russell, 2018 Danny Dietz Scholarship of Honor recipient

The Danny Dietz Scholarship of Honor has been awarded at Heritage High School in Littleton, Colorado since 2007. This year, the Danny Dietz Scholarship of Honor will be awarded at a 2nd location at Austin High School in TX. Students of both high schools can apply online at: http://www.briansjourney.com/scholarships-of-honor/application.

In 1999, Danny graduated from Heritage High School and joined the Navy three months later. While in high school, he played football his senior year and was active in weight lifting and swimming. Danny had two weeks of service left in Afghanistan when he was killed on June 28, 2005. Danny was posthumously awarded one of our nation's highest honors for heroism, the Navy Cross. Danny's widow, Maria, said he was not only her friend and role model, but her hero. He is a true hero to so many.

The Danny Dietz Scholarship of Honor is made possible by the Mader family and the family and friends of the Dietz Family.

Scholarship recipient now in Medical School

2013 Brian LaViolette Scholarship recipient, Luke Buttke updates us on his first semester of Medical School..

Luke Buttke SLU Entrance 2018.jpg

“I was accepted to Saint Louis University for medical school and have just finished my first semester there! I feel like I fit in very well with the mission of the school which is to put humanism in medicine and focus on the patient and their needs. I’ve made a great group of friends that push each other to be as successful as we can and also take an edge off of the stress that comes with being in medical school.

So far I’ve completed statistics, cellular and molecular biology, anatomy, immunology, and am halfway through intro to pharmacology. They have all went really well and it’s been wonderful to begin my journey to becoming a physician. I am currently leaning towards pursuing a residency in emergency medicine, but am keeping my mind open until I go through all of my clinical rotations during my third year.

Thank you for everything you have done for me.”

Luke with his parents at his white coat ceremy

Luke with his parents at his white coat ceremy