In 2008, Steve Haworth was introduced to a man who was not only a PGA of America golf professional, F-16 fighter pilot, but also the recent founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation. His name, Major Dan Rooney.
Steve and his wife Karen, both Oklahoma State Alums, met Major Dan’s father, Dr. John Rooney, while on a college visit to Stillwater with, Hailey, their eldest daughter. The meeting with Dr. Rooney led to Hailey’s decision to attend Oklahoma State University in the Fall of 2010.
Steve was introduced to Dr. Rooney by his friend and fellow alumni, the late Mike Schuetz. Mike lived in Barrington, IL, and his daughter, Rebecca, was attending Oklahoma State at the time. Mike was also in Stillwater the same weekend for a football game and insisted that he meet his friend and former professor. When Steve met Dr. Rooney and his wife Sandy, little did he know this chance introduction, or should we say synchronicity, would alter his life forever.
Dr. Rooney began sharing a story about property on the outskirts of Tulsa that he was developing into a golf course. Naturally, Steve an avid golfer, became intrigued. Steve and his wife decided to drive out to see this not yet open course, and ended up falling in love with the property.
The rolling hills, and the moniker of the course, to be named “The Patriot”, a salute to honor our military heroes every day of the year. This course was not just a golf club. It was a mission, to which Steve was moved by.
Shortly upon arrival, Steve was introduced to Major Dan Rooney, the son of Dr. Rooney. Dan had grown up in Stillwater, and was a huge OSU fan. Both sharing a love of golf and Oklahoma State University, it was an instant bond.
Dan insisted Steve attend the First Annual Patriot Cup Golf Tournament at the course over Memorial Day. The tournament was attended by some amazing people; many that had lost loved ones while serving our country. Mixed with PGA Tour pros, entertainers, and other celebrities willing to give their personal time to support this great organization. Steve was moved by this activation of patriotism.
While Steve had been involved with a few charities before, he had never felt such a strong calling. The mission of Folds of Honor, to provide educational scholarships to children and spouses of fallen or disabled soldiers, created a deep impact. To which he knew, this was something more than just a cause.
After the weekend, Steve went home and told his wife Karen, they needed to get involved.
Both he and Karen began to share the story of Folds within their network of friends. Hosting a few wine dinners, telling the stories of our military families, and the mission of Folds. Both Steve and Karen created a movement of patriotism beyond the borders of Tulsa, OK within their local community. And just after six short years, the gatherings which started out as wine dinners, evolved into one of Folds of Honor’s largest fundraiser to date.
Chicago is proud to say they have raised over $1,000,000 for the families of Folds. Changing the lives of many.
Steve and Karen, and the rest of the Chicago chapter, hope you will join the Friends of the Folds Chapter, and show just how much the city of Chicago has to share.