Golf is a sport that, while played by individuals, is characterized by unity.
The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of America, is a strong picture of unity exemplified in golf. With over 28,000 members dedicated to growing the game of golf, when the members of the PGA of America come together to rally behind a cause, they are unstoppable.
Loyal, united, and patriotic to the core, it’s no wonder the members of the PGA of America have a long-standing tradition of supporting our nation’s military.
Dating back to World War I, when the PGA of America raised money to purchase ambulances for the American Red Cross, you would be hard pressed to find a time in the history of the PGA of America when they weren’t giving back to the military.
With loyalty, unity, and love of country already rooted in the heart of the PGA of America, there was no question that when Folds of Honor founder, Oklahoma Air National Guard F-16 fighter pilot, and PGA Professional, Major Dan Rooney, asked for their support of his mission to help the families of our fallen and disabled service-members, the answer was a resounding yes.
In 2007, Major Dan spoke with PGA President, at the time, Brian Whitcomb, sharing with him the vision for Folds of Honor. Major Dan also invited him to attend a golf tournament in Grand Haven, MI, on June 8, 2007, hosted to raise money for the son of a fallen service-member. This golf tournament laid the foundation for what would soon be known as Patriot Golf Day (read that story here).
After attending the golf tournament, Whitcomb went back to the executive team at the PGA of America to tell them about this new non-profit one of their own PGA Professionals was starting, Folds of Honor.
Immediately after hearing the mission behind Folds of Honor, the executive team jumped on board.
In a matter of 5 weeks, they orchestrated what would become the first, official Patriot Golf Day over Labor Day Weekend in 2007.
They sent kits to PGA Professionals across America, asking them to raise money at their golf course on behalf of this noble mission.
In that first year of Patriot Golf Day, the members of the PGA of America raised over $1 million for Folds of Honor.
It wasn’t until a few months later, however, that many of the PGA Professionals who helped make Patriot Golf Day 2007 a success, were able to hear the story of Folds of Honor for themselves.
On January 16, 2008, at the PGA of America Annual Meeting, Major Dan Rooney spoke to 350 PGA of America delegates about the mission of Folds of Honor.
Allen Wronowski, former PGA President and current Director of Golf Development and Relations at Folds of Honor, and Tony Biata, former President of the Central New York PGA and current Vice President of Patriot Golf Day at Folds of Honor, were both in attendance at the Annual Meeting that year.
Both remember Major Dan’s powerful and moving speech, and both remember that there was not a dry eye left in the room once he finished speaking.
From that day forward, there was no doubt the PGA of America and Folds of Honor were going to join forces, and for nearly 10 years, the partnership has stood strong.
The members of the PGA of America are some of Folds of Honor’s greatest patriots, tirelessly championing the cause to honor the sacrifices of our nation’s service-members, by educating their legacy.
With millions donated, year after year, Folds of Honor is beyond grateful for the impact the PGA of America has made in the mission to change the lives of the families of America’s military heroes.
Thank you to former PGA President and current Director of Golf Development and Relations at Folds of Honor, Allen Wronowski, as well as, former President of the Central New York PGA and current Vice President of Patriot Golf Day at Folds of Honor, Tony Biata, for their contributions to this post.
Learn more about Patriot Golf Day at www.patriotgolfday.com
Learn more about the PGA of America at www.pga.com