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Folds of Honor: Honoring Their Sacrifice, Empowering Their Legacy
This guest blog is authored by Major Ed Pulido, U.S. Army (Ret.) is the Vice President of the Folds of Honor Foundation, a Veteran’s charity which provides the spouses and children of the fallen and wounded educational scholarships.
In June of 2006, Major Dan Rooney was on a commercial flight to Grand Rapids, Mich., when he witnessed a profound and heart-wrenching homecoming that would ultimately lead him to founding the Folds of Honor Foundation (foldsofhonor.org).
On his way to his seat, Rooney noticed a young soldier in dress greens sitting quietly in first class. He thought, “how nice it was that someone took care of the young corporal.”
The flight was short and turbulent, lasting only 20 minutes before touching down in Grand Rapids. After the fasten seatbelt sign was turned off, the pilot announced, “We have an American hero on board.”
Rooney immediately thought of the soldier in first class as the pilot continued his announcement: “We are carrying the remains of Army Corporal Brock Bucklin… and his twin brother, Corporal Brad Bucklin, has brought him home from Iraq.”
As he was processing this heart-sinking announcement, Rooney peered out the window and saw a four-year-old boy in the arms of his grandmother as they both awaited the arrival of their fallen family member. Rooney spent the next few minutes in reflection, watching the faces of Corporal Bucklin’s family, thinking of the destruction that he had encountered in service, and thankful he survived war to return to his wife and daughters. But he wondered, “What if the tide of war turned on my family? What would their future be like without me?”
The pilot had made a simple request of his passengers: to remain seated as a sign of respect while Corporal Bucklin’s flag-draped casket was removed from the plane. Rooney watched in disbelief as his fellow passengers ignored the request and exited the plane, seemingly unmoved by the circumstances. That is when Rooney felt a powerful force calling him into action – to help the Bucklins and other military families and to also reach out to those who got off the plane to help them understand that freedom is not free.
This poignant moment is something Rooney calls “synchronicity,” or a chance with a purpose.
The next year, Rooney founded the Folds of Honor Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to providing educational scholarships and other assistance to the families of those killed or wounded in service to our country.
Corporal Brock Bucklin’s young son Jacob, the four-year-old boy Rooney saw awaiting his father’s final arrival, became the first Folds of Honor scholarship recipient. The primary fundraiser for Folds of Honor is Patriot Golf Day held at thousands of golf facilities nationwide throughout the year, with the majority held over Labor Day Weekend. President George W. Bush serves as honorary chairman of Patriot Golf Day.
To date, Folds of Honor has awarded more than 5,000 educational scholarships.
Includes excerpts from Major Dan Rooney’s book, A Patriot’s Calling: Living Life Between Fear and Faith
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