Remembering an American hero on Christmas Eve

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.

Carl and Helen Kratzer

Carl and Helen Kratzer

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. 

1st Lieutenant, Carl Kratzer recipient of two distinguished Flying Crosses, an Air Medal along with the WWII Victory Medal

1st Lieutenant, Carl Kratzer recipient of two distinguished Flying Crosses, an Air Medal along with the WWII Victory Medal

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.    

On their wedding day in 1952

On their wedding day in 1952

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.  

Carl and Helen Kratzer with their 11 grandkids

Carl and Helen Kratzer with their 11 grandkids

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.

Bruce and Carol Valk with their daughter Sylvia and son Carl

Bruce and Carol Valk with their daughter Sylvia and son Carl

A childhood friend gives back to the green bay area…by Doug LaViolette

For the second time, Brian’s Foundation received a wonderful donation from Frank Frewerd, a gentleman who lives in North Carolina.

Frank Frewerd with his family, Brian, Keri and his late wife Kathy

Frank Frewerd with his family, Brian, Keri and his late wife Kathy

Frank is a boyhood friend  of mine, growing up in Oconto. I actually worked for his father, George W. Frewerd, at a gas station part time after school and on weekends.

His family has a deep heritage of military service. Frank himself served in the Air Force.

I haven’t seen him in a few decades and didn’t even realize he lived in North Carolina until his first donation arrived a couple years ago. 

As with all donations, they are so appreciated because, they are in fact the lifeblood of Brian’s Foundation and the work we do.

We were compelled to not only thank Frank, but also find out why he continues to donate, in part because he is supporting a cause outside of his community in NC.

As it turns out, Frank simply wanted to give back to an area he felt has “brain drain” and wants to keep the hard-working, smart students of Green Bay in the Green Bay area. He went on to say, “you realize many parents have to struggle in their job to help pay for college.  I just wanted to help them.”

Frank has traveled the world in his military service and has seen the good that can come out of helping others.   

He wanted his donation to remember the good in this world, as well as dedicate it to his wife Kathy’s memory.  They had been married for 48 years when she passed on 6.16.16 after a courageous battle with cancer.  

Frank is also very proud of his entire family to include his five granddaughters and we can’t forget – his co-pilot, his dog, Asia

 
Frank’s co-pilot, his dog, Asia

Frank’s co-pilot, his dog, Asia

 
 
Frank’s son, Brian, his wife, Nicol and granddaughters Meredith, Kristina, Catherine, and Madelyn.

Frank’s son, Brian, his wife, Nicol and granddaughters Meredith, Kristina, Catherine, and Madelyn.

 
 
Frank's daughter, Keri, her husband, Brian, and daughter Emma.

Frank's daughter, Keri, her husband, Brian, and daughter Emma.

 

Today and everyday, we'd like to say "Thank You."

On this Veterans Day, we not only give thanks to the men and women we pay tribute to through the Scholarship of Honor program, but to all who have served and are currently serving to protect us.

15 years ago this week, the Brian LaViolette Foundation established the Scholarship of Honor Program.  It is an award that honors the service and sacrifice of our past and present military heroes.  At the same time, the scholarship recognizes a graduating high school senior with plans to enlist in the military or pursue a career in public safety or community service. 

Thanks to hundreds of donors, 302 Scholarships of Honor have been awarded nationwide. It's with a great deal of pride these annual scholarships allow families, friends, communities and students to give thanks and remember those who serve.

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You can learn more about the scholarships in this program and those we honor, here.


The Scholarship of Honor Mission
To honor, to remember, those who serve while recognizing dedication,  community service and selflessness in those who follow in their footsteps


74th scholarship awarded in Poland

Natalia Roska and Karolina Idzikowska received our 2018 International Scholarship of Honor in Nidzica, Poland. Brian's Foundation has been awarding scholarships in Poland for 16 years.

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Natalia (left) is studying Linguistics in business at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn.

Karolina (right) is studying Economics and Management and production engineering at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn.

These scholarships are made possible by Darlene Nueske and Mike and Sue Smullen. The recipinets are pictured during the scholarship presentation with the Vice Governor of The Nidzica County, Leszek Brzozowski and the President of the Nidzica Community Foundation, Barbara Margol.

Kate Russell, the 2018 Danny Dietz Scholarship of Honor recipient sent us a note on her first week of college... 

"I wanted to give you a quick update on how life at University of Portland is going. I finished my first week at school and I am loving it! My intro to engineering class is super interesting and we are going to soon start on our projects for the semester, which are building our own small wind turbines.

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Other than that I am enjoying the beautiful weather in Portland and meeting a bunch of new people! Here are some pictures from my orientation weekend! 

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Glad to hear all is well Kate!  Thank you for the update.