Folds of Honor kickoff party hosts and honary chairs Rusty and Molly Reid share a moment with Sainty Nelsen and Jake Reid. (Photo by Danny Campbell)
Bill Connally with Meredith Connally, Regional Development Officer, and Leigh Ann Connally. Photo by Danny Campbell.
Marilyn Berry and Mike Berry, Honorary Chairs. Photo by Danny Campbell.
Mike Beltz, Chairman of the Board of Folds of Honor with Lori and Larry Allen. Photo by Danny Campbell.
Ty Duncan with Sarah Duncan, Regional Development Officer for Folds of Honor. Photo by Danny Campbell.
Most parents plan for and dream about their kids getting the higher education they need to succeed. But when a hero is hurt or permanently disabled while serving in the United States Armed Forces, those dreams can go unrealized.
Who will provide the funds to see those dreams through?
A recent party in Fort Worth became part of the effort to make sure those dreams continue uninterrupted. It’s all part of Folds of Honor North Texas’ 2022 gala season which will culminate in the organization’s biggest fundraiser event on Saturday, November 12.
That grand gala will be held on the field of AT&T Stadium. The evening will bring together military families, veterans, scholarship recipients and members of the North Texas community. The annual gala raises funds that are used to provide educational scholarships to the nation’s most deserving families ― the ones who sacrifice to protect everyone else’s freedoms.
The November gala will include dinner, an auction and live entertainment from Emerald City Band.
Fort Worth supporters of Folds of Honor gathered recently at the home of Molly and Rusty Reid for a kickoff party. The Reids and Marilyn and Mike Berry are serving as honorary chairs of this year’s Folds of Honor gala.
The Reids’ white-columned Fort Worth home was draped with a huge American flag, flowing down into the party, at the pre gala evening. Tables were decked in patriotic red, white and blue with guests enjoying home cooked hamburgers and treats from Austin’s Underdawgs food truck. The crowd sipped cocktails and listened to live music under the shade of a live oak tree.
Mike Berry welcomed the visitors. Berry noted that he and Rusty Reid were both introduced to Sarah Duncan, the regional development officer for Folds of Honor by Molly Reed, a mutual acquaintance. After Duncan detailed Folds of Honors’ mission, “She had us at hello,” Berry says.
Duncan shared her own Folds of Honor story with guests at the kickoff party too. She is the daughter of a fallen hero who became a Folds of Honor scholarship recipient. After Duncan’s father Captain Dennis Michael White died when his F-15 went down, Folds of Honor stepped in with a scholarship, which allowed his daughter to attend Auburn University.
Sarah Duncan says that opportunity has made her who she is today. Duncan graduated from Auburn in 2011. And her personal story brought the true power of the nonprofit’s mission to life.
Folds of Honor’s Mission
Folds of Honor was founded in 2007 by Lieutenant Colonel Dan Rooney ― an F-16 fighter pilot who is currently stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida as a member of 301st Fighter Squadron. Rooney served three tours of duty in Iraq. But his life was forever changed when he returned home from his second tour of duty in Iraq on a domestic flight.
The airline pilot announced that the plane was carrying the remains of a fallen soldier and he asked the passengers to respectfully remain seated while the casket was taken off the plane on landing.
Rooney watched from an airplane window as the family of the deceased walked somberly alongside the flag-covered casket. Among them was the young son of the fallen corporal. Rooney decided then that he had to do something to pay tribute to American service members and their families.
Thus Folds of Honor was born, with the mission of helping families of disabled and deceased military members by providing educational scholarships.
The educational scholarships support private school tuition or tutoring in grades kindergarten through 12th, tuition for college, technical or trade school and post-graduate work, including a masters degree, doctorate, or professional program. Funds for a second bachelor’s degree or trade/technical program certification are also available.
Since its inception in 2007, Folds of Honor has awarded more than 35,000 scholarships totaling more than $160 million in all 50 states. Last year’s North Texas Folds of Honor Gala raised just under $2 million in support of its mission. For more information or to donate in support of a Folds of Honor scholarship, visit Folds of Honor North Texas’ website.
And don’t forgot that Folds of Honor North Texas’ gala is November 12th at AT&T Stadium.