Organization’s Motto: Honor Their Sacrifice. Educate Their Legacy
To serve one’s country is a tremendous honor. To give one’s life is the ultimate sacrifice. The bravery continues at home for the families of fallen military personnel. Not only have they lost a loved one, but they must carry on for their families. Folds of Honor offers these families help by providing financial assistance for education.
I spoke with Folds of Honor communications coordinator Alyssa Smythe about their organization and what our readers can do to help them fulfill their mission.
“Folds of Honor was founded in 2007 by Maj. Dan Rooney, an F-16 fighter pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard and a PGA professional. After returning from his second tour of duty in Iraq, Rooney was on a commercial flight that was bringing home the remains of Brock Bucklin, a 28-year-old corporal who had been killed in Iraq,” Alyssa explains.
“After witnessing the return of Bucklin’s remains to his family, Rooney became painfully aware of the reality families face when a loved one in uniform is fallen or disabled. It was then he knew his mission: to ensure the sacrifices of U.S. members would be honored and their family would be supported. To date, Folds of Honor has served nearly 20,000 people through one singular, noble mission.”
Folds of Honor scholarships support private education tuition and tutoring for children in grades K-12, as well as higher education tuition assistance for spouses and dependents.
“Over our 10 years, we have become one of the most respected nonprofits in the industry, earning both a Platinum rating from GuideStar and a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. This is our way of honoring our donors’ commitment.”
Alyssa says the organization’s biggest opportunity and challenge continue to be the nearly exponential growth in awareness and the resulting growth in their responsibility to provide scholarships to an increasing number of eligible applicants.
“However, last year the challenge became dire and we were forced to turn away 700 families due to lack of funding,” she says.”Our challenge over the next few years is to increase efficiency and expand our fundraising efforts to honor our commitment to fully fund every deserving family that requests our help.”
There are many ways to get involved and help.
“Become A Folds of Honor Wingman or Participate in Patriot Golf Day. Create a fundraiser. Get involved with a local Folds of Honor chapter or start a chapter in your area,” Alyssa says.
Folds of Honor holds two major fundraisers a year. The 10th Annual Patriot Cup Invitational, which serves to commemorate the sacrifices military families have made for our freedoms and thank those who have supported the organization’s mission, is held over Memorial Day weekend at the Patriot Golf Club in Owasso. Patriot Golf Day is promoted nationally over Labor Day weekend. “But,” Alyssa says, “we like to say every day is patriot golf day. Everyday patriots can come together in support of our military families through the game.”
Learn more at FoldsofHonor.org.