Remembering Brian Kanterman Honors a Life of Service

4Patriots Pitches in for Fundraiser

When he reached his teen years, Brian Kanterman was already considered a very nice and respectful kid. But an incident that would be etched into his mind for the rest of his life was the catalyst for turning his propensity for kindness into a life of service. 

A close friend died in a fire at age 13 when the volunteer fire department was unable to reach the burning house in time. Brian was devastated. He could have turned to unhealthy habits to help him cope. 

Instead, at age 15, he became a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT) and eventually attained the rank of captain. As soon as he was legally able to do so, he volunteered for Community Fire Company 25 fire service and became a nationally certified firefighter.

Brian attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, then became a police officer and eventually a deputy sheriff. Later, while rehabilitating from an injury sustained in duty and waiting to become a K9 officer, he served as a correctional officer in a Virginia prison.

It was there that Brian tragically passed away after an adverse reaction to an over-the-counter medication, causing his heart to stop on Christmas Day 2018 at age 25.

Always polite and respectful 

“As kids, both Brian and his older brother, Jason, were very competitive,” said Stan Kanterman, the boys’ father and a private investigator licensed in multiple states. “Both were black belts in martial arts and played traveling baseball. 

“Brian played the trumpet and guitar, and he was a drum major in the high school marching band and a member of a first-aid squad and local fire department. Later he was a fanatic about going to the gym, even when his back was hurting, to keep himself in shape.

“He would volunteer for any kind of community thing he could get his hands on. He was an umpire for Little League baseball and a volunteer at our temple for many projects.

“I remember many a day until he got his driver’s license when he would wake me up at 2 a.m. because he wanted to respond to an emergency call and I had to drive him. I was very proud of him for the things he did.

“Brian was in the ROTC at Rutgers and was one of only four cadets who completed the Washington 10K Run, even with knee, hip and back issues. I’d call Brian a gentle giant. At 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, he was formidable looking, but very polite and respectful.”

Physical setbacks didn’t stop Brian

Even outside his chosen professions, Brian set an example of service. Citizens of Somerset, New Jersey were never surprised to see him helping the elderly load groceries into their cars or assisting an unsteady person crossing a street.

When he’d see a man or woman in uniform, he would thank them for their service and offer to buy them a cup of coffee. He also volunteered at animal shelters and would often take selfies with dogs he’d see on the street, posting them to his social media accounts.

A number of physical issues may have slowed Brian down from time to time, but they never stopped him from fulfilling his life mission of serving others.

At age 19 he needed a hip replacement due to a deformity in that joint. The next year he underwent a back operation after a ceiling fell on him while he was battling a fire. As a police officer, he broke all the toes in both feet while pursuing a suspect. 

Nonprofit RBK established in 1999

Realizing the necessity of carrying on Brian’s legacy, Stan and his wife, Tina, established the Remembering Brian Kanterman Inc. (RBK) nonprofit organization. 

The RBK mission is multi-faceted. It includes:

  •   Purchasing police dogs for agencies that recently lost a dog in the line of duty
  •   Providing service dogs to veterans
  •   Partnering with local shelters to provide emotional support animals to veterans and first responders 
  •   Paying the costs of training individuals who wish to be police officers, firefighters or EMTs
  •   Offering scholarships to individuals who want to go into criminal justice, law enforcement or legal fields
  •   Assisting veterans and first responders struggling with addiction to obtain support
  •   Awarding "go bags" to first responders

Eliminating high price tags

Many of these mission components involve high costs. The average police dog costs between $17,000 to $21,000, a PTSD dog is about $32,000 and a ballistic vest goes for $3,000. 

A go-bag containing a medical kit for an officer and a dog, plus handcuffs and flashlights, can run up to $1,000. The average cost to train an EMT and firefighter is $750 to $2,000.

“We donated two K9s – one to the Allentown PA Police Department, a patrol K9, and another to the New Jersey Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, a bomb-sniffing dog,” Stan said.

“We have also purchased a PTSD K9 for a NJ veteran, which will be awarded in the next few months.

“We only donate to volunteer departments. We give them the opportunity to bring on a new EMT or firefighter and get them the equipment they need.”

A variety of essential programs

Following are brief descriptions of the RBK programs:

Addiction Support for Veterans and First Responders 

Sadly, many veterans suffer from addiction and do not get the help and resources they so greatly deserve. Addiction support geared toward vets can be found in a number of hotlines and resources seen at

K9 Replacement

RBK seeks to raise enough funds annually to purchase police dogs for agencies that recently lost a dog in the line of duty or when it retired due to age or illness. Many K9 handlers have been left without a partner and are in need of a professional replacement.

Service Dogs for Veterans

Due to the prevalence of PTSD and mental illness among veterans, and the overwhelming stress that first responders deal with on a regular basis, there is an increasingly widespread need for well-trained service dogs to help improve their lives. RBK’s goal is to help fill this need through the adoption of emotional support animals and service dogs for first responders and veterans.

Police Officer, Firefighter & EMT Training

RBK seeks to help pay the costs to train individuals wishing to become police officers, firefighters and EMTs. And to contribute to those already in the field needing additional training and/or equipment.

Donations for Scholarships

Another goal for RBK is to provide scholarships to individuals who want to go into criminal justice, law enforcement or legal fields.

EMT, Firefighter and Police Officer Grants

In the same vein as donating to scholarships, the RBK website offers the opportunity to donate to grants for EMTs, firefighters and police officers. These donations help young people achieve their dreams by becoming public servers.


Deserving first responders receive go-bags consisting of a gear bag, a ballistic first-aid kit, handcuffs, flashlight, knife, note pads and pens.

Not-for-Profit Donations

All donations made through the RBK website go to not-for-profit programs. They go directly to police officers, firefighters, EMTs, veterans and more people needing help.

4Patriots contributes to fundraiser

Last October, a Remembering Brian Kanterman event raised $25,000 for the charity. There were approximately 230 attendees at the fundraiser, held at the Grand Marquis in Old Bridge, New Jersey. 

4Patriots donated several items for the raffle. Including Patriot Power Cells, a 72-Hour Survival Food Kit, a HaloXT Tactical Flashlight and a Patriot Pure Personal Water Filter.

“We put together baskets based on three different tiers of value,” Stan said. “People buy as many tickets as they want and then we call out numbers for the next three hours, with volunteer runners verifying ticket numbers and delivering prizes.

“We truly appreciate the donations you sent in. And the quality of your stuff is important to us. People come back to our event because we don’t sell junk.”

Those interested in donating to Remembering Brian Kanterman may visit and click on “Donate.

Stan summed up the volunteer organization’s mission in one sentence:

“We wanted to make sure what Brian did didn’t stop with Brian.”

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