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There are some beautiful people in the world. One of them is Major Dan Rooney of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. I watched him being interviewed on Bloomberg last night and, not withstanding a bald head, he is a very handsome specimen physically. But that is not what I’m talking about here. He is a beautiful person because of how he has helped people. Let me explain.

In Palm Beach Gardens, Florida recently the Professional Golf Association (PGA) honored one of its own, Professional Dan Rooney, founder of Patriot Golf Day and the Folds of Honor Foundation. He joined 33 other recipients of the 2008 Significant Sig award, the highest honor bestowed upon an alumni member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.

Rooney, 35, a resident of Broken Arrow, Okla., is a 1995 graduate of the University of Kansas, where he earned a master’s degree in performance psychology in 1996. He turned professional that year and competed until 1998 as a tour professional. Rooney also is a golf course owner, residential developer, and an F-16 pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard. He is a major in the U.S. Air Force and a decorated military aviator, who will be making a third tour of Iraq later this year.

In his Bloomberg interview he said he was on a full plane which included the casket of an American soldier killed in the line of duty. The boy’s parents were on the plane and as they landed, the captain announed what was happening–that they wanted all passengers to pay respect to the family of this soldier by staying on the plane for a few moments while they unloaded the coffin from the plane. Rooney said he was disappointed that only half of the passengers honored that request–it was after midnight and many simply were tired and wanted to go home.

But this got him to thinking about the poor people affected by the death of a soldier. In many cases he leaves behind a wife and small children with very little in the world. Economically, it devastates families so he decided to do something about it. He organized this Patriot’s Golf Day on the First Day of September, asking each golfer who golfed that day to make a contribution of a dollar or more. The project has been very fulfilling spiritually and financially. With the help of more than 4,000 golf course owners nationwide, Rooney has been able to raise over a million dollars of aid to these families of soldiers killed in the line of duty.

This blog honors Major Rooney for his efforts and would suggest that if you are so inclined, get hold of your golf course pro and leave your donation.

Patriot Golf Day is a nationwide fund raiser jointly supported by The PGA of America, United States Golf Association (USGA), the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). It produced more than $1.1 million in donations nationwide in it’s first year (1997). This year, all proceeds will benefit Rooney’s Folds of Honor Foundation.

The Folds of Honor Foundation’s mission is to provide scholarships to the spouses and children of troops injured or perished in conflict. This year’s Patriot Golf Day will be conducted during the Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29- Sept. 1.

Patriot Golf Day is the creation of Dan Rooney, a 34-year-old USGA and PGA member who has served two tours of duty in Iraq as an F-16 fighter pilot. He got the idea as a way to remember our true heroes: those who have died in military service.

A native of Oklahoma, Rooney is a golf professional who struggled on the smaller tours and in 1997 tried unsuccessfully to attain his PGA Tour card through qualifying school. After that failed attempt, he and his father, John, bought Grand Haven (Mich.) Golf Club, a fixer-upper golf course along the shores of Lake Michigan.

He hopes to raise millions of dollars for the foundation, between individual and corporate donations.

“Patriot Golf Day is a call to action – a call to American citizens to help the children of our fallen heroes,” Rooney said.

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