This weekend marks the perfect time for a long drive ... or a short putt.
Beginning today and running through Monday, three area golf courses - Canaan Valley in Tucker County, Riverbend in Upshur County and Stonewall Resort in Lewis County - are teaming up with thousands of golf courses across this great nation to host Patriot Golf Day.
Golfers will be asked to donate an extra $1 in their greens fees, and that money will go to the Folds of Honor Foundation. Folds of Honor, founded in 2007 by Maj. Dan Rooney, provides post-secondary scholarships to family members of military men and women killed or disabled while serving their country.
Nearly 200,000 military dependents have had a parent or spouse killed or disabled in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. About 87 percent of those veterans do not qualify for federal benefits.
A PGA professional and F-16 pilot who has served three tours of duty overseas, Rooney started the Folds of Honor Foundation shortly after returning from his second tour. Flying commercially on his way home, he noticed a soldier was bringing home the body of his twin brother who had been killed in Iraq. That got Rooney thinking about the hidden costs of war, the costs to the families left behind and who then are forced to go forward.
Participating courses in the past five years have raised more than $12 million to help the families of these veterans. We would urge area golfers to again support those who have given of their lives so that we may live and play in a secure nation. It is our hope players will frequent this weekend the golf courses that are participating in the Patriot Golf Day program.
One dollar, less than the cost of a greeting card, seems to be the least Americans can do to say "thank you" to the families that have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.