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QuikTrip donation aids foundation that helps families of fallen soldiers

BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Posted with permission from the Tulsa World.
Friday, October 21, 2011
10/21/2011 5:19:04 AM

A donation from QuikTrip to the Folds of Honor Foundation on Thursday added to a successful year of fundraising for the Owasso-based organization. 

The $103,000 check presented to Maj. Dan Rooney, Folds of Honor's founder, brings the amount raised this year to more than $5 million. Folds of Honor helps families of fallen soldiers by providing scholarships and financial support. 

QuikTrip donated $1 from every sandwich, wrap or salad sold over Labor Day weekend, the same weekend as the organization's main fundraiser, Patriot Golf Day, where golfers at more than 4,000 courses across the country are asked to donate an extra dollar to the organization. 

It was the first year for QuikTrip to hold the fundraiser, but after its success, it will continue, said Chet Cadieux, president and CEO of QuikTrip. 

"We heard from customers and employees about how good they feel about it," Cadieux said. "It won't fix their family. It won't heal their family. But God knows it will help." 

Cadieux said QuikTrip has long supported military members and families. He said 137 QuikTrip employees are on military leave. 

Folds of Honor also received a $2 million donation from Budweiser this year. Included in the donation is $100 for all 4,552 home runs in the regular season of Major League Baseball. 

Rooney, a former F-16 pilot with the Oklahoma Air National Guard who served three tours in Iraq, said he is stunned by how the organization has grown in just four years. 

Since 2007, Folds of Honor has raised about $12 million and provided scholarships to more than 2,200 children or spouses of soldiers who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan. 

"I look at the exponential growth we're experiencing; it's because the cause is so good and so pure," Rooney said. 

Rooney started Folds of Honor after seeing a family bring home the remains of its soldier who died overseas. He said he called his wife and said they had to do something for that family. 

"I had no idea what we were going to do or where we were going to start, but I had to do something for that family," Rooney said. 

The first Patriot Golf Day in 2007 included 3,300 golf courses and raised more than $1.1 million, he said. 

Community support has also made a difference, Rooney said. While most military support organizations are based in Washington, D.C., Folds of Honor is a chance for local supporters to see the impact on their community. 

"It gives people in this part of the country the chance to thank the people who fight for their freedom every day," Rooney said. 

The donations will help Folds of Honor reach the more than 250,000 dependants of fallen soldiers in the U.S. Of that number, about 87 percent don't qualify for financial aid for their education, he said. 

Original Print Headline: QuikTrip gift aids group that helps soldiers' families