Alex Viola made his family proud with his service to his country, and now his family continues his legacy with a foundation that helps wounded special forces members and the families of those who died while serving.
Alex, a 2002 graduate of Keller High School, died Nov. 17, 2013, after being hit by an improvised explosive device in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan while serving with the U.S. Army Special Forces, commonly known as the Green Berets. He left behind a will asking his loved ones to support the Green Beret Foundation and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
On Friday morning at Keller Town Hall, Alex’s parents Frank and Peggy Viola, sister and brother in-law Christina and Joey Spragins and his 4-year-old nephew Lucas presented two $10,000 checks to the Green Beret Foundation and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
The donation came from the Staff Sergeant Alex Viola Memorial Car Show, held Nov. 21, 2015, at Keller Town Hall. A car show named for Alex was fitting, as he and his dad had restored a 1968 Chevy Chevelle Super Sport.
Though that day was frigid, the community came out in support of Alex. Keller area’s Mad Dog Car Club supported the show. More than 200 vehicles were on display.
The most special part of the day, Frank Viola said, was the panel of judges. Nine Green Berets, seven of whom had served with Alex, came to act as judges. They looked at every vehicle and talked to many exhibitors and spectators.
“It was a great event,” Frank Viola said. “What I didn’t realize at the time was how much of an impact those Green Berets would have on our community.”
The Violas plan to have an annual car show in honor of Alex; the next one will be Nov. 5.
At the check presentation, representatives of the two beneficiary organizations talked about how much Alex’s memorial gift would mean to those they serve. The Green Beret Foundation assists wounded Green Berets and helps the families of those who lost their lives and the Special Forces Warrior Foundation primarily helps send the children of fallen special forces soldiers to college.
Major John Koren, retired U.S. Air Force and regional director for Special Forces Warrior Foundation, said, “Alex exemplifies the Special Operations spirit. He has given so much and he is going to leave a lasting memory.”
For more information, go to ssgalexviola.com.