Returning to the Fold

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Major Dan Rooney founded the Folds of Honor Foundation to help the families of military members who were wounded or killed in action. Photo by Brandon Scott.
Major Dan Rooney founded the Folds of Honor Foundation to help the families of military members who were wounded or killed in action. Photo by Brandon Scott.

It’s not every day that you see something that changes your life and the lives of others. But that’s exactly what happened to retired U.S. Air Force Major Dan Rooney one day during a commercial airline flight.

“Each day, 99 percent of our country wakes up free, courtesy of the one percent in the military,” Rooney says. “We all have a duty to give back to these families impacted by the tragedies of war.”

Upon landing, Rooney and his fellow passengers were asked to remain seated to allow U.S. Army Col. Brad Bucklin to escort the body of his twin brother, U.S. Army Cpl. Brock Bucklin, from Iraq. Rooney watched from his window seat as the flag-draped coffin was lowered from the plane and a 4-year-old boy named Jacob waited to receive the remains of his father.

“What struck me the most was the finality and gravity of the sacrifice,” Rooney says. “Watching a young child, as a parent, knowing that he will never play catch or be tucked in bed at night, struck me the most. I started Folds of Honor to help Jacob. Anyone who is in the military, killed in action or disabled, has no greater want than to