Opportunity 34 scholarship fund exceeds expectations
VERONA, Wis. (WMTV) -- After a former Verona basketball player's death in November, he is being remembered by the community he played for. Verona Area High School is hosting a fundraiser for the Opportunity 34 Foundation.
The foundation was created in honor of Will Kellerman after he died in a single vehicle traffic crash on November 4. Will was 21 years old. Friday night, the school's athletic department unveiled the new top ten leading scorers plaque and Will is 7th on the list. T-shirts and other items were sold along with a shooting contest at halftime. All proceeds will go to the foundation. The athletic department is also donating 50 percent of all ticket sales from Friday night's game against Beloit Memorial to the foundation. Opportunity 34 Foundation is named after Will's jersey number.
His parents, Brian and Kristin Kellerman said
has given them a way to honor their son's memory by helping others.
"It almost feels like a little more of a celebration of life than ten weeks ago when we were in the gym. We had his visitation in the gym," said Kristin. "We often wake up and it is like how are we going to pass the time? So this gives us some energy to do something positive," said Kristin.
On November 4, Will was driving to Dubuque after scoring 23 points in a Milwaukee Area Technical College Basketball game.
"His last game was the best game he ever played, no question," said Brian. "He was driving to see his girlfriend. It was the perfect day for him."
"He was just... a mile away from our house. He lost control of the wheel and he over corrected and flipped." said Kristin.
Now, this is a way for them to make sure Will's legacy lives on.
"He was just a cheerleader for everybody. He had awesome confidence but it was a quiet confidence, too," said Kristin.
"He was always the guy who, when he walked in the room, the room lit up," said Brian.
Brian and Kristin said Opportunity 34 has already made an impact they never expected, with no signs of slowing down.
"Originally, our goal was five thousand and so far it's at 183 thousand and I don't even think its close to being done," said Brian.
"Of course, we'd rather have our kid but if we can't, then to be able to do something like this for other kids, I think it has helped with the healing process tremendously," said Kristin.
This spring, three Verona basketball players will each get five thousand dollar scholarships through the opportunity 34 foundation. Last week, 40 thousand dollars was donated in Will's honor from foundation funds to the MATC Foundation.
For more information on donating to the Opportunity 34 Foundation, click