September 7, 2012
The family of a Missouri National Guard soldier, killed while serving in Afghanistan, received a welcomed surprise prior to Friday night's Cardinals game.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The family of a Missouri National Guard soldier from St. Charles, Mo., killed while serving in Afghanistan received a welcome surprise just prior to Friday night's St. Louis Cardinals game.
Standing just off the Busch Stadium pitcher's mound, Serena and Aleks Kisseloff and their grandparents, Mela and Michael Kisseloff, received the first-ever Veterans United Military Hero Award. The award, a $50,000 donation from Columbia, Mo.-based Veterans United Foundation, was in honor of Sgt. Denis Kisseloff who was killed May 14, 2010.
Sgt. Kisseloff served in the 1141st Engineering Company of the Missouri National Guard. He was killed by insurgent gun fire while serving at Forward Operating Base Shank as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Two years prior, Serena, Aleks and Sgt. Kisseloff lost their mother and wife to an illness.
Eight members of the Kisseloff family attended the game, and Sgt. Kisseloff's children threw out the first pitch. The award presentation was made by Missouri National Guard Brigadier General David Irwin and Specialist Ernest Roberts. Roberts served with Sgt. Kisseloff in Afghanistan.
"Denis was just a great guy to serve with, and he loved his family very much," Roberts said. "I'm really glad the efforts to support his family and other military families are continuing because the need is great."
"Sgt. Kisseloff bravely served, giving all to his state and his country, and I was honored to be with his family," Irwin said. "The support from Veterans United Foundation for Sgt. Kisseloff's family and the reaction from the fans was something memorable."
Serena, 13, and Aleks, 11, live with their grandparents.
"Serena and Aleks have been through more than we should ever ask children to go through," said Megan Sievers, director of Veterans United Foundation, the charitable arm of Veterans United Home Loans in Columbia. "This donation is simply a way for us to show our support of their father, their family and their service to our country."
About 400 Veterans United Home Loans employees and guest attended the game to support the Kisseloff family. The company employs more than 1,000 people nationwide who have contributed $1.2 million to the foundation in the past year.