MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A national foundation that provides scholarships to military families now has a chapter in Minnesota.
Folds of Honor held its inaugural Wingman Open Golf Tournament was today at Hazeltine.READ MORE: Zumbrota Car Dealership Commercial Featured On ‘Last Week Tonight’
All the money raised goes right back to the families who lost loved ones while serving our country.
In 2014, Folds of Honor awarded 25,000 scholarships to children and spouses of deceased or severely disable military service members. Thirty-one of those scholarships went to Minnesotans.
The Wingman Open Golf Tournament began with the National Anthem, and parachutes.
“We only started organizing just a few months ago,” said Perry Schmidt, president of Folds of Honor’s Minnesota chapter, “and we’ve got 34 foursomes on this beautiful day.”
Schmidt and his wife started the Minnesota chapter in May.
“I always felt compelled to help out those people that are so brave and go into battle for us,” said Schmidt. “It’s the least we can do to help them out.”
With the chapter now open, all the money raised here in Minnesota goes right back to Minnesotans, including every dollar raised at Hazeltine on Monday.
“We’re hoping to net $100,000, and I think we’re well on our way,” said Schmidt.
While Minnesotans hardly need an excuse to golf, supporting Folds of Honor was the real draw.READ MORE: Wisconsin Senate To Vote On Longer Work Hours For Teens
“Any time that you can support the one percent that sacrifices their lives for us, so that the 99 percent can go to bed at night, we want to do that,” said Ben Utecht, former NFL player.
For some, it was personal.
“My father passed away flying a Navy jet when I was three years old,” said Chad Koehler. “It brings a tear to my eye because I remember my mom having a 3-year-old and a newborn. The navy was pretty gracious to us, but I know that doesn’t happen for a lot of people.”
Others learned along the way. Each hole had a story about a Minnesota recipient.
“To be able to read a personal story about some of these kids about where the’re going to college, what they’re studying and their background,” said Jane Curtis. “It just puts a name and a face to the organization, makes it real personal”
All the money went to help families, like Ginger Gilbert Ravella’s, whose husband died a hero in 2006.
“He saved 20 operations troops in the army,” said Ravella. “He saved every one of them but, tragically, lost his life. I was left with these five beautiful babies to take care of.”
Folds of Honor gave her one less thing to worry about later on.
“Everything that we had hoped and planned for them, I still wanted to make happen, but I didn’t know how,” said Ravella. “Folds of Honor said, ‘Hey, we’re going to help you with college. It’s a long way down the road, but we’re there for you.’”
All five of Ravella’s children are using the scholarships to go to school in San Antonio.MORE NEWS: Sun Country Adds Nonstop Routes To 7 New Airports
To donate to Folds of Honor, visit its website.