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Broken Arrow Express

Broken Arrow Resident Named PGA Patriot


Maj. Dan Rooney of Broken Arrow, a PGA Professional and founder of Patriot Golf Day, a campaign that captivated a nation to give back to the families of the men and women who had been wounded or paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving in time of war, has been named the recipient of the inaugural PGA Patriot Award.

Rooney, 35, completed his third tour of duty in Iraq this month as an F-16 fighter pilot, and was presented the award at The PGA of America’s 92nd Annual Meeting, Nov. 8, at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Ariz.

The PGA Patriot Award is presented to a PGA Professional who personifies patriotism through the game of golf and demonstrates unwavering commitment and dedication to the men and women who have valiantly served and protected the United States of America.

“Maj. Dan Rooney epitomizes the best of what our country is about – the definition of a patriot,” says PGA of America President Brian Whitcomb. “He has been unwavering in his commitment to give back to others and has motivated the golf industry to join him in this noble campaign. At the same time, he put his life on the line repeatedly to defend our country and our freedom. The PGA of America is proud to have Major Rooney in our membership and honored to bestow upon him the first PGA Patriot Award.”

Inspired by a 2006 flight to Grand Rapids, Mich., where he witnessed the return of a fallen soldier’s coffin to his family on a rain-splattered tarmac, Rooney began developing his vision for Patriot Golf Day. Launched in August 2007, Patriot Golf Day was spearheaded by The PGA of America and in partnership with the United States Golf Association (USGA). The first Patriot Golf Day campaign resulted in more than $1.1 million in donations from 3,400 golf facilities nationwide.

From that first-year success, Rooney founded the Folds of Honor Foundation, which serves as the distributor of scholarship funds to the spouses and children of troops injured or killed in conflict. This year, Patriot Golf Day raised more than $1.6 million and continues as the primary fundraiser for the Folds of Honor Foundation.

“The Patriot Award epitomizes the best attributes of The PGA of America. The PGA Professionals across the country are making this nation stronger through their participation in Patriot Golf Day,” says Rooney. “In my opinion, all professionals who supported Patriot Golf Day should be receiving a Patriot Award. Yet, the true reward lies in knowing that together we are helping a small portion of the over 180,000 dependents that have had a spouse killed or disabled in defense of our freedoms. I truly believe helping these military families is part of my life’s mission. And I vow to continue fighting until we are able to help all of our military families affected by the ravages of war. I am eternally grateful to the professionals and the PGA of America for supporting our military families.

“It is an honor to serve as a member of The PGA of America. I am receiving the inaugural Patriot Award on behalf of all PGA Professionals. I look forward to passing it on in 2009. There are so many deserving golf professionals across this country, and I am humbled to be chosen as the first recipient.”

Rooney is a 1995 graduate of the University of Kansas and was elected to PGA membership in 2005. His career includes serving as a golf course owner, residential developer and as a decorated F-16 pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard. Rooney said that his passion for developing Patriot Golf Day and the Folds of Honor continues to grow and has daily received new support from many new audiences touched by the stories of military families.

“I am witnessing first-hand the cost of freedom while deployed in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM,” says Rooney during his latest tour of duty. “Our military members are putting their lives on the line each day and spending time away from their loved ones. It is a tremendous sacrifice. My mission as an F-16 pilot is to ensure that each day I am doing everything in my power to protect the troops on the ground so that they can return home safely. When I return home, I will continue the daily mission of helping those families affected by this conflict.”

About The PGA of America
Since 1916, The PGA of America’s mission has been twofold; to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf.

By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, the Association enables PGA Professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the $76 billion golf industry.

By creating and delivering dramatic world-class championships and exciting and enjoyable golf promotions that are viewed as the best of their class in the golf industry, The PGA of America elevates the public’s interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. The PGA of America brand represents the very best in golf.

Updated 11-25-2008

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