Our first honoree of the 2022-2023 season is Aaron Davis. He was nominated by the Veterans Justice Fellowship within the New Orleans Bar Association. He joined the US Army in 1972 and was deployed to Korea for one year. He was discharged honorably in 1975. He then worked offshore in the oil industry until his retirement. He is a huge fan of the Saints & was excited to attend the game on Sunday! WHO DAT!
Thank you, Aaron Davis, for dedicating your life to protecting the US and our Louisiana communities in the Army and for the intense work you endured offshore to keep the country running comfortably.
Master Sergeant Sean Pitre
US Air Force
NFL Week 5 - Oct. 9, 2022 - Saints vs Seahawks
Nominated by: Louisiana Chapter State Director of the Veteran Golfers Association
Our next honoree of the 2022-2023 season is Sean Pitre. He was nominated by the Louisiana Chapter State Director of the Veteran Golfers Association. Sean is from Lafayette, LA and has a wife and 2 children. He served 20 years of Honorable Service as a Master Sergeant E-7 and Aircraft Armament Technician, 2W171 in the US Air Force before retiring in 2018. We hope you enjoyed the game on Sunday! WHO DAT!
He says his favorite part of his job “was really the comradery and friendships you build over the course of your career. The Air Force really isn't all that big and many times you serve at various bases across the world with many of the same people. You make lifelong friendships that really end up feeling like your own brothers and sisters. I love being able to use my experience(s) to help others succeed at whatever endeavor they pursue. I was very fortunate to be able to travel the world and was stationed at 7 different bases in various countries, worked on 4 different airframes, but the greatest honor was being able to deploy 7 times in-support of campaigns such as: Kosovo, Iraq Freedom, Korea, Enduring Freedom, Southwest Asian, and Operation Northern Watch.” Spoken like a true hero, he adds, “it was truly an honor to serve this great nation and would do it all over if given the opportunity.”
Some career highlights include:
1999 - Completed aircraft armament system's technical training on the F 16. Assigned as a weapons load crew member at Spangdahlem AB Germany.
2001-2006 - 2 more duty stations: Mishawaka, Japan and Indian Springs auxiliary field in Nevada. Deployed twice in support of Iraqi Freedom.
2006 - Selected as a military training leader and relocated to Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi.
2008 - Deployed is support of Iraqi Freedom for the second time. Selected as the squadron military training leader of the year.
2010-2015 - Assigned at Seymour Johnson AFB, as a F 15 "strike eagle" weapons expediter. Deployed twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
2015 - Assigned to the Wolfpack at Kunsan Air Base and served as Armament Shop Section Chief. Hand selected as one of the maintenance squadron's productions superintendents.
2016 - Assigned to the 7th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at the Dyess Air Force Base in Texas. Served in various capacities such as: weapons loading element non-commissioned officer in-charge and squadron interim first sergeant.
Thank you, Sean Pitre, for dedicating your life to protecting the United States in the Air Force.
Our next honoree of the 2022-2023 Saints season is Justus Branson from Monroe, LA. He has served this country for more than 8 years since graduating from Neville High School in 2014. He was nominated by fiancé Ellie Millar, friend Stephen Tyler Jr. and big brother Joseph Branson. SSgt Branson could not wait to attend his FIRST New Orleans Saints game on Sunday! WHO DAT!
He has held many positions within the Unites States Marine Corps including Infantry Rifleman, Marine Corps Security Force Marine, Team Leader, Squad Leader, Section Leader, Platoon Sergeant, Canvasing Recruiter and Station Commander.
He served over 3 years in the Marine Corps Security Forces Battalion Bangor, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines - 1st Marine Division before making his way to the USMC Recruiting Station in Baton Rouge.
He has deployed on two tours of duty to Al Anbar Province Iraq and Helmand Province Afghanistan. Since returning home in 2020, he has led the recruiting station in Baton Rouge and sub-station in Hammond as Station Commander. SSgt Branson follows in the footsteps of other Marines that have inspired him to accomplish things he never imagined he’d be capable of. He “cherishes being able to motivate, educate and influence Marines and the local community of Louisiana to accomplish things greater than themselves.”
In 2020, Branson was promoted to Staff Sergeant. In 2021 he received Recruiter of the Year from RS Baton Rouge, ran the Louisiana Marathon, and proposed to his girlfriend of 3 years. This year, he competed in his first CrossFit competition, completed The Murph Challenge and got a puppy! He has earned 3 Meritorious Promotions, 5 Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, 1 under combat conditions with Device and 2 Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals.
Thank you, Justus Branson for your selfless service to this country and community.
Our next honoree of the 2022-2023 Saints season is a commissioned officer from Florida State University. Captain Beeman has served in the Army for 12.5 years. He is currently the Commander of Alpha Battery 1-141 Field Artillery Battalion 256th Infantry Brigade Combat team. He is employed full-time by the Louisiana Guard as the Personnel and Manpower Operations Officer. Captain Beeman has served on numerous hurricane missions during his service. He recently returned home from a year-long deployment to the Middle East. He says, “the best part about my job is serving with and for the people of Louisiana.” and “As someone who is not a native of Louisiana, I can truly say that there is no place like it or it’s people.”
Thank you, Brent Beeman, for dedicating your life to protecting our country and Louisiana communities in the Army.
NFL Week 9 - Nov. 7, 2022 - Saints vs Ravens
Nominated by: Close friend
Our next honoree of the 2022-2023 season is Ponchatoula Royalty, Braville LeBlanc. He was nominated by fellow Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival board member, Samantha Brumfield for this recognition. We congratulate him on his 11th year as First Assistant Fire Chief. The Ponchatoula Fire Department is comprised of full-time, part-time and volunteers who respond to all EMS calls, auto accidents, fires and other emergencies. This honoree received a Citizen-of-the-Year award in 2021 from the Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce and a Four-Star Silver Award from the Louisiana Municipal Association.
LeBlanc is a life-long resident of Ponchatoula and a Ponchatoula High School Graduate. He is an Eagle Scout, Class of 1979. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering at LSU. While there, he helped found the LSU Student Chapter of the Instrument Society of America (ISA). He now has over 33 years of experience in the oil and gas industry.
He is a past city Councilman of Ponchatoula and past Chairman and King of Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival. Braville began serving the City of Ponchatoula as a member of the Planning and Zoning Board before being elected to the City Council in 2006 where he served 14 years. He coached both of his sons in baseball for both Ponchatoula Dixie Youth Baseball and Holy Ghost school ball. Within the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival, he represented Knights of Columbus as a voting member, served as Chairman of the 30th festival in 2001, later serving as Site Coordinator, and most recently reigned as King of the 49th Annual Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival.
He is an active member of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Louisiana Bayou Chapter and the Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the Parish Tourism board and in the City and Special Events Committee. He continues his service with the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival as a board member and parliamentarian.
He is a current volunteer firefighter and Life Member of the Ponchatoula Volunteer Fire Department. Braville has dedicated 23 years as a Fire Fighter and First Responder. This will be his 11th year as 1st Assistant Chief. Additionally, he serves as Chairman of the By-Laws Committee and Annual Children’s Christmas Party.
Thank you, Braville LeBlanc for dedicating your life to protecting our Louisiana communities with Ponchatoula Fire Department and for ALL the work you currently do for the city.
The next KGF Community Hero has been in the Marine Corps for 5 years. He was nominated by his dad Anthony. Corporal Masella is from Fort Worth, TX. He joined the Corps when he was 17 and is now stationed in Baton Rouge, LA. He returned from Afghanistan recently and is currently on Recruiting duty in BR. He says, “One of the coolest things I’ve experienced in my time so far was playing for the Marine Corps basketball team and competing against other branches.” In the future, he plans to serve as a State Trooper in Texas. His favorite thing to do during time off is watch and play sports. He especially enjoys playing golf! This game was his first Saints game day experience. WHO DAT!
Thank you, Michael Masella for dedicating your life to protecting our country with the US Marine Corps.
Sergeant Philip DeSalvo
Louisiana State Police, Troop B
NFL Week 15 - Dec. 18, 2022 - Saints vs Panthers
Nominated by: Close friend
Meet this week’s KGF Community Hero, Sergeant Philip DeSalvo. He is a family man with a large sense of humor who loves making people laugh. He loves helping people and has served in some capacity of law enforcement for 25 years.
He has held the title of Sergeant for almost 2 years with the Louisiana State Police, Troop B. Sergeant DeSalvo’s father, uncle, brother and cousins have all worked for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office for over 130 years collectively. Following in their footsteps, DeSalvo served 8 years with JPSO before joining the NOPD and then the LSP. Sergeant Philip DeSalvo has been employed with the Louisiana State Police for 16 years now. Throughout this time, he has proudly taken part in significant arrests, high profile investigations, rescue operations, first responding situations pertaining to natural disasters, and task force operations like the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force. Sergeant DeSalvo’s favorite part of his job is teaching at the Training Academy. He “loves teaching new cadets and current troopers throughout the state.” He has been a defensive tactics instructor for approx. 9 years now and teaches defensive tactics to other Police Departments as well. DeSalvo loves sports and being a dad. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife of 15 years and their son.
During this time of year, you can find the Louisiana State Police handing out gifts with Santa at the Children’s Hospital. The LSP also has a Grant-A-Wish program for children, an annual College Scholarship Award and fundraisers for children with special needs and struggling families. The Public Affairs Division educates various high schools throughout the state on the dangers of Drinking and Driving. They also offer Child Seat safety installations at all troop offices across the state.
He says, “Law enforcement has always been a large part of my life… and I have been fortunate to have been a part of each agency… Protecting and Serving the public has been an honor for me and I am very grateful and humbled to be recognized by the Kelly Gibson Foundation”
Thank you for your service to our community Philip DeSalvo! We hope you and your guests enjoy the game! WHO DAT!
Sergeant Kemisha Ware
NFL Week 18 - Jan. 8, 2023 - Saints vs Panthers
Nominated by: Hynes Chater School
Our last honoree of the 2023 season is a New Orleans native, Grambling State University PhD grad, certified Special Education teacher and a proud US Army service member. Sgt Kemisha Ware, Ph.D. was nominated by Hynes Charter School in New Orleans where she works as a Special Education teacher. Her nominator said she is “committed to serving her community as a service member and as an educator. Our State, Our Country and our children are in great hands”. Sgt Ware has “dedicated her life to being a service to others” and “is the walking definition of community servant”. We recognize Kemisha Ware for her 17 years of service in the Army and 10 years of service teaching in the New Orleans area. Sgt Ware also serves as Vice President of the Omicron Nu Zeta (New Orleans) graduate Chapter of the international Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. "From its earliest years Omicron Nu Zeta Sorors have continuously focused and developed activities based upon the four principles of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority: Scholarship, Service, Sisterly Love, and Finer Womanhood. Activities included tutorial programs, Thanksgiving Baskets, Stork’s Nest, March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, debutante balls, Z-HOPE, and various community outreach projects. In 1993 Omicron Nu Zeta supported undergraduate students in chartering Iota Omicron Citywide Chapter. The chapter also serves as the sponsoring graduate chapter for Zeta Beta Chapter at Southern University at New Orleans. Omicron Nu Zeta Chapter continues to sponsor Zeta Youth Auxiliaries: Pearlettes, Amicettes, and Archonettes." (Click here to learn more about Omicron Nu Zeta graduate Chapter).
Thank you Kemisha for your continued service to our country and communities. We want you to you know how much your community appreciates you! We hope you and your guests enjoy the game!