A few days before the Coca Cola 600 military appreciation race, NASCAR driver, Kevin Harvick, joined Rocky Sickmann, Anheuser-Busch military sales director, and Maj. Dan Rooney, founder of Folds of Honor Foundation, visiting wounded Soldiers and race fans to spread the word about the scholarship foundation as well as donating a Budweiser racing fire suit to Fort Bragg, May 23.
“We thought it would be pretty cool to present to you (a fire suit) as gratitude to everybody here at Fort Bragg for what you guys do for us,” Harvick explained to the room full of wounded veterans. “It’s little piece of the win (from 2011) to somehow say thank you in a different way than normal. Obviously, none of us can say thank you enough for what you all do for us.”
The number 29, Budweiser fire suit will be on display at Sports USA for all patrons to enjoy.
In the tribute of thanks, Rooney, a retired F-16 pilot and a PGA golfer, explained his need to help military servicemembers and their Families.
“I wanted to do my part outside of the cockpit to help out the guys and girls I saw who were injured or killed in action over there and I came home and did nothing. And what I like to say, inspiration is only as good as the action you take in life,” explained the veteran who served three tours to Iraq.
“I ended up on a commercial flight with the remains of Corporal Brock Bucklin and unbeknownst to me, his twin brother Brad Bucklin, was escorting him home from Iraq. I watched his 4-year-old son that night on the tarmac, in Grand Rapids, Michigan and knew I had to do something with that calling I had in my life. So, I started a foundation. I was a fighter pilot and a golfer, so I wasn’t very smart and I didn’t have much money, but I wanted to make a difference,” said Rooney.
Budweiser has helped fund 1,000 scholarships to the Families of those killed or wounded in action. In North Carolina alone, last year the organization funded $500,000 dollars worth of scholarships, helping out 90 Families. As of January, over 3,800 scholarships have been awarded by the foundation.
“It’s an honor working with these guys because trust me, 445 days being held hostage, I thought we were forgotten,” explained Sickmann, a retired Marine who was one of the 66 Americans taken captive when Iranian militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 1979. “But with people out there like Kevin, that knows that he wouldn’t be driving if it wasn’t for you — the military and the spouses and Family defending the wall to provide us the freedom to do that. With that, Budweiser has been supporting the troops for over 150 years. Since 2010, we have provided over $5 million dollars to the Folds of Honor.“
“From May 5 through July 4, every time you buy a red, white and blue packaged Budweiser, it’s going to provide dollars back to scholarships for the Folds of Honor,” explained Sickmann
“We are proud to be here with Kevin and Rock to kick off the Red, White and Blue summer in which we will get the honor of giving another $1.5 million dollars to the one percent who put on the uniform every day to defend the other 99 percent. So, thank you all for doing what you do,” said Rooney.
For more information on Folds of Honor or applying for a scholarship, visit http://www.foldsofhonor.org.