Four years ago, Major Dan Rooney was on a commercial flight shortly after finishing his second of three tours of duty in Iraq. As the plane touched down, the pilot made an announcement. “Ladies and gentleman, we have an American hero on board – Corporal Brock Bucklin – and his brother, Corporal Brad Bucklin, is accompanying him home from Iraq. As a sign of respect, please remain seated while Corporal Bucklin’s family receives him in his final homecoming.”
Rooney, an F-16 pilot with the Oklahoma Air National Guard, looked out the window as a casket was carried off the plane. Behind a fence just beyond the tarmac, Rooney could see Corporal Bucklin’s family members and a four-year old boy who would grow up without a father.
Back home in Broken Arrow, Major Rooney decided something had to be done to help the children of America’s fallen soldiers. He founded a charity called the Folds of Honor Foundation with the aim of providing college scholarships to the spouses and children of service members disabled or killed as a result of their sacrifice to our nation. Rooney chose the name to represent the 13 folds that form the triangle shape of an American flag that is folded at a soldier’s funeral. Corporal Bucklin’s son, Jacob, received the very first Folds of Honor scholarship. Four years later, the Folds of Honor Foundation has awarded 2,000 scholarships and raised $8.5 million for the dependents of America’s fallen and disabled soldiers.