Proceeds from free-will offering at Sunday breakfast will help fund the Walter Keller Memorial Scholarship

    "The bottom line is, you treat others the way you want to be treated, with respect and dignity." - Walter Keller   

    When Walter Keller passed away unexpectedly in December of 2012, his wife Margee and daughter Sarah knew he had touched the lives and hearts of many.   

    “He left a legacy,” Sarah said. “Through his tenure, he was able to train in new recruits to the law enforcement program. Now, many of them are across the state, so in a way, it’s as though his expertise and leadership are all around.”    

    The late husband, father and longtime Polk County deputy's legacy is now being remembered and continued in another form — through the newly-christened Walter Keller Memorial Scholarship.    

    Developed by Tri-County Community Corrections Director Phillip Greer as well as the immediate Keller family, the Walter Keller Memorial Scholarship is offered to individuals who wish to further their education in the fields of law enforcement.    

    Michael Awender, a senior majoring in Criminal Justice at the University of Minnesota Crookston, was the first recipient and received the scholarship this past spring. "The Crookston Rotary had a general scholarship at UMC, and after Walt left us I thought we should change and grow that scholarship to honor Walt and his service by creating the Walt Keller Crookston Rotary Law Enforcement Scholarship." Greer explained.   

    Money will be raised to fund the scholarship this Sunday, June 15 – Father's Day – when the Crookston Rotary Club hosts its Pancake Breakfast from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Brown Dining Hall at UMC. The menu will include the aforementioned pancakes, along with eggs, sausage, fried potatoes, muffins, juice and coffee. A free-will offering will be accepted.   

    "My dad believed that the Rotary motto -- service above self -- was present everywhere in life," Sarah said. "He was known for his good listening; he was an excellent listener, and he valued the voice of reason, which is not your traditional cop blend. He wanted to ensure that young people were able to have a service-oriented global view of the world."    

    "My family and I are going to keep this scholarship going no matter what," Margee added. "This is a memorial to Walt and an opportunity for young individuals."   

    Through this scholarship, the Kellers are hopeful and trusting that their father's and husband's legacy will live on and inspire others to continue their love and passion for the law enforcement field. "We hope that this scholarship is able to represent one of Walt's mottos: dignity and respect," Margee said. "That was something he lived by."