Welcome to the
Robert J Brau Family Foundation
Empowering children and families in ways that remind of Robert, whose life left us richer, but whose death at the hands of a distracted driver motivates us to act.
Terry and I took a private drive in memory of Robert during the pandemic
years and this year we've decided to again emphasize Robert's Annual Ride as a personal journey.
We feel that the virus is still a threat to many
and we know that Robert would want us to plan for this event
in a way that respects both what science is telling us
and out of a profound respect to those who've lost their lives and their loved ones
during this very difficult time.
We hope that you'll make plans now for Monday, August 14, 2023. Ride, drive, cycle,walk, run, swim, hike, bicycle, kayak, canoe
- whatever way you move -in Robert's memory.
Take a photo and post it in memory of Robert on our Annual Ride for Robert Facebook page.
Or perform a random act of kindness (so "Robert-like") and tell us about it on the page.
Let this be a time that you take with you those you love
remembering Robert, his life and his death.
Remember that day and RENEW YOUR COMMITMENT TO #JUSTDRIVE!!
Your life, your loved one's life, or the life of another depends on it.
We've read the research and we know, now more than ever, that talking with a phone in hand or even through bluetooth, is a distraction. It takes your mind off of driving.
It changes the focus and creates an atmosphere ripe for a crash.
If you cause a crash, you'll quickly and irreversibly become a killer.
Robert should still be here. If his death can stand for something, let it stand for
your continuing commitment to #JustDrive.
The Annual Ride for Robert
One of our main events at the Robert J Brau Family Foundation is the Annual Ride for Robert, an event that encourages everyone to take a walk, hike, bicycle/motorcycle/boat/car ride, or swim in Robert's memory. If it hadn't been for a distracted driver, Robert would still be living his dreams. He was killed instantly when a young woman crashed her car directly into him as he traveled towards home on his motorcycle and our Foundation pledge is to make people more aware of how dangerous it is to drive while trying to do things that disrupt driving focus. Until this trend changes, we will spend a significant portion of our resources tackling this problem. See how you can help by reading more or contacting one of our representatives.
Robert J Brau Scholarship
Honors a Willmar Senior High School Student
Every spring a scholarship is awarded to a Willmar Senior High School music student who most reminds us of Robert and his musical gifts.
Robert loved to be busy and he loved spending time with friends and family, especially when that time included anything musical - listening, playing or recording. His musical pursuits included piano, cello, trumpet, French horn, acoustic and electric guitar and bass, and he had a beautiful bass singing voice. He was a 2011 High Honors Graduate of Willmar Senior High School and while there participated in every musical group available to him, including all of the band and choir ensembles and small groups, the orchestra, musicals pit orchestras, and Pep and Jazz bands.
2015: Austin Grove - Tenor Sax, Cello
2016: Erika Ellingson - Percussion, Piano, Voice
2017: Brady Newcomer - Alto Sax, Voice
2018: MaKenna Hogan - Trumpet, French Horn, Voice
2019: Jeremy Pierskalla - French, Horn, Cello, and Voice
2020: Elliot Christianson - Trombone, Viola, Theatre Tech Crew/Head Sound Engineer
2020: Hannah Olson - French Horn, Violin/Viola, Theatre Tech Crew/Lead Lighting
2021: Rachel Lanning - Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra Young Artist of the Year, Choir, Violin, Theater/Speech
2022: Caroline Becker - Cello, Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra Young Artist of the Year, French Horn, Choir
Robert J Brau Memorial Scholarship
Honors a University of Minnesota Music Student
After high school graduation, Robert was accepted at the University of Minnesota and began studies in science and music. He was exuberant and honored to be selected as a member of the University of Minnesota Marching Band in 2011 and became part of the leadership team for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He often referred to the Marching Band as his “Away from Home Family”. As a college sophomore, he decided to focus on his passion which was music and he was accepted into the University’s School of Music and officially declared his major in Classical Guitar Performance. His plan was to earn his PhD, to become a college professor and to both teach and perform on guitar. His dreams had really just begun.
2014: Claire Volna - Mellophone
2015: Todd Peterson - Tuba
2016: Paul Benson - Mellophone, Connor Jensen - Trumpet
2017: Justin J. Roth - Trombone
2018: Gabriel Dreisbach - Quints (Percussion)
2019: Emily Yager - Clarinet
2021: Victoria Deitschman, Clarinet, Biology major
One of the main reasons the Robert J Brau Family Foundation was founded in 2017 is to change society's attitudes and behaviors with regard to distracted driving and to assist the families and children in our area in ways that honor Robert.
Make plans now to join us in the last week of April 2020 for our #JustDrive walk - one of three in the state. Check back here for details or contact us today if you'd like to either sponsor this event or volunteer.
We donated to the Willmar Destination playground and got together a small group to volunteer in building. We wore Robert's favorite colors that day.
The organized ride centers around some of Robert's favorite places - Games Lake, Sibley State Park, and Green Lake. All of these places were places he loved to go for swimming, hiking and sailing.
Don’t miss out on any Robert J Brau Family Foundation news or updates. Check our website often or sign up for email updates.
“I would like to be well liked more
than well known. I want to be able to look back and have no