By ANNE BOYD
FLYING HIGH: Major Dan Rooney, founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation, is an F-16 pilot who understands the pressures that families go through in the military.
Courtesy Folds of Honor Foundation
Tucked away in Owasso, the Folds of Honor Foundation has reached out to help families throughout the country. Its mission is simple, to give back to those who have lost loved ones or have been disabled during their service in the military.
The Foundation was created by F-16 Fighter Pilot and Professional Major Dan Rooney in 2007. While returning from his second tour of duty, an announcement was made that they were bringing the body of Corporal Brock Bucklin home. Out of respect, the pilot made the request for everyone to stay seated until the casket had been carried away.
Rooney watched as a little boy and his mother walked to the plane. He wondered what would happen to them and wished that he could help in some way. As he looked away, he was shocked to find that more than half of the passengers had ignored the request and deboarded, Rooney says.
In the following months, he formed the Folds of Honor Foundation. Through scholarships, individuals who have been injured can learn new skills, and anyone in need of education can receive help.
Scholarships help to cover tuition, books, uniforms and tutors. They are available for children grades K-12 and college students. If awarded to children, the funds are saved until they are old enough for enrollment.
Scholarship funds come from donations and golf tournaments held throughout the year. Over Memorial Day weekend, The Patriot Cup will come to Owasso for the fourth consecutive year. Hosted by The Patriot Golf Club and the Folds of Honor Foundation, the event features two days of God, country and the game of golf.
The first day is a qualifying event for golf professionals, military golfers with a handicap of five or better, as well as donors to Folds of Honor Foundation. The top scoring military golfers from the qualifier advance to day two on Memorial Day.
These military golfers are teamed with the world’s best of the , Champions Tour and Celebrity players in a two-person scramble format. Scholarship recipients serve as honorary caddies for the day, which is a highlight for everyone.
To date, nearly 4,000 scholarships have been given to families in all 50 states. Rooney and his dedicated staff hope to increase this number in the coming years.
For more information about the Folds of Honor Foundation, visit www.foldsofhonor.org.