Amazing Dad: Dan Rooney (from

Posted: June 20, 2010 in Ordinary People/Extraordinary Things
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What a great story to report for Father’s Day! We came across this touching story on about Major Dan Rooney who established the Folds of Honor Foundation, which gives scholarships to families of those in the military who were killed or became disabled during their service. This heartwarming story from is listed below, but if you would like to view this article in it’s entirety, go to

Amazing Dad: Maj. Dan Rooney, who established the Folds of Honor Foundation, which gives scholarships to families of those in the military who were killed or became disabled during their service

Dan’s Family: Wife: Jacqy, married 11 years; Kids: Victoria, 8, Tatum, 5, Mia, 2, Reese, 1

Dan Lives In: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Why Dan Is Amazing: Returning from his second tour in Iraq on a commercial flight in 2006, Dan and the other passengers were told the remains of fallen soldier Corporal Brock Bucklin were on board. As the flag-draped casket was removed from the plane’s cargo hold, Dan watched as Bucklin’s family — including his wife and young son — joined the procession. At that moment he knew he wanted to help make a difference in the lives of families of fallen heroes.

In 2007, Dan, a Major in the Air National Guard and a decorated F-16 pilot who has served three combat tours in Iraq, founded the Folds of Honor Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to the spouses and children of military service members disabled or killed in service.

“I’ve gone to combat three times in Iraq, and we always say we’ll never leave a man or a woman behind on the field of battle,” he tells ParentDish. “We don’t want to leave the family behind on the field of battle either. … We’re almost at 1,400 scholarship recipients since we’ve been around in the last three years or so, and we’re not going to stop until we can do everything we can to help every family that’s out there in need.”

Also a golf course owner, Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) pro and United States Golf Association (USGA) member, it seems natural that the foundation’s flagship fund-raising event is Patriot Golf Day, where, in a joint effort with the PGA and USGA, $3 million in donations were made in its first two years from golfers nationwide, with more than 550 scholarships awarded. Dan says more than 5,000 golf courses in all 50 states are being targeted to participate in this year’s Labor Day weekend event.

“It’s the biggest grass roots golf movement in the world and I don’t think there are any other larger sports movements out there,” Dan says. “You can go to one of those golf courses and make a donation. Last year, we raised about $2.3 million over that weekend. We ask people to donate one extra dollar when they go and play golf. It’s something everyone can do and you can see the exponential impact of literally millions of people joining together to give back.”

Combining his military service, philanthropy and love of golf has been a dream come true, Dan says.

“My dad always brought me up with the message: Find your passions in life, find something you love to do and figure out a way to do it every day and you’ll never go to work,” Dan says. “I wanted to be a PGA golf professional and an F-16 pilot and, from what I know, I’m the only one of those combinations out there. And to get to take that to the next level and use these things for good has been a great blessing that I discovered on my journey of life. I didn’t set out with that purpose, but to be able to merge these two things together in such an impactful way is the greatest luck I’ve ever had in my life.”

Dan says it’s easy to stay inspired by his mission.

“Every time I meet one of these families and know that there are thousands more out there that, unfortunately, are being left behind, being forgotten by our country, it’s real easy to stay motivated and inspired each and every day,” he says. “Ultimately, what drives me — and I think drives most people — is you discover that great irony that when you’re the one who reaches out to someone in need, you’re actually the one being helped. … I would guess when it’s all said and done, you’re not going to be asked what you did with your life, but rather what you did for others.”

Dan’s Folds of Honor Staffer, Sgt. Josh Butts, Army Veteran, Says: “Dan leads a cause that is not only eminently important, but completely necessary. We ought to take care of those who have taken care of us. The greatest leaders are those who help us realize the most obvious truths, and execute action based on the conviction of those truths. This is what Major Rooney has done.”

Recognition: For his combat in Iraq, Dan is a two-time recipient of the “Top Gun” award and was honored with the “Spirit of Attack” award as a top graduate of F-16 training. His many decorations include the Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Medal, Anti-terrorism Medal, Combat Readiness Medal and Air Expeditionary Medal.

For his work with Folds of Honor, Dan received the White House’s Presidential Volunteer Service Award, the Air National Guard’s Distinguished Service Medal, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the PGA’s first-ever Patriot Award.

Dan’s Guilty Pleasure: Chocolate chip cookies at night

Dan’s Best Advice: “In life, have the courage every day to live between the realm of fear and faith. … True fulfillment lies on the outer edges of life and that lies outside of your immediate small world that people tend to get stuck in, including myself. We have the courage to venture out into what I describe as that line between fear and faith, and that’s when you find out what life is about.”

For more information about the Folds of Honor Foundation, check out this website:

Our hats off to you Dan Rooney for having such a big heart for those who really need nurturing so much. We salute you for your unselfishness and continued patriotic dedication!




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