We were humbled to receive a donation that took our breath away in honor of a true American hero and the wife who stood beside him for over 55 years.
Bruce and Carol Valk have supported Brian's Foundation for more than a decade as Bruce also serves on Brian's Foundation Advisory Board. When it came time for their year-end planning, they decided to donate in honor of Carol's parents, Carl and Helen Kratzer.
Carl was a true American hero having served as a decorated Bombardier in World War II. It is hard not to be inspired by the heroic actions of Carl Kratzer who served with the 8th Air Force on 30 bombing missions over Europe.
On one mission to Cologne, Germany, 1st Lieutenant, Carl Kratzer recipient of two distinguished Flying Crosses, an Air Medal along with the WWII Victory Medal his plane was so badly damaged it came down in Belgium but by the grace of God and his parachute training, his entire crew was saved.
On another critical mission Carl single-handedly patched a landing gear hydraulic line that ultimately led him to being awarded his Second Distinguished Flying Cross.
Carl and Helen met and fell in love after the War in Port Washington, Wisconsin where Carl had just opened a soda shop and confectionery business. Helen taught English at the local High School.
Carl sold the ice cream business and established Carl's Drive-In in Saukville, WI, which was a truck-stop and burger place. They never guessed that single burger restaurant would grow to a chain of 22 Burger King's throughout Wisconsin, but it did.
Along the way they would have four loving children, Kris, Steve, Carol and Trina. Their daughter Trina would be tragically lost to cancer later in life but the joy of their 11 grandchildren continually renewed their spirit.
We are grateful to learn more about Carl, Helen and their family through Bruce and Carol. It was not only humbling to receive this donation in honor of their loved ones but that they shared their inspirational story with us.