Future visitors to Grand Haven Golf Club will be greated with a beautiful reminder of the club’s claim to be the most patriotic golf course in the United States.
Course owners Dr. John and Maj. Dan Rooney unveiled plans today for a monument commemorating Dan Rooney’s meeting with Jacob Bucklin, whose father, Cpl. Brock Bucklin, was the inspiration behind Patriot Golf Day and the Folds of Honor Foundation.
“When you’re here next year, there’ll be a monument, and it’s going to be really spectacular,” Dan Rooney told a large gathering of golfers who were participating in the Patriot Golf outing at Grand Haven Golf Club. “The goal is, no one will ever pass through this first tee and not realize what a special place the Grand Haven Golf Club has played in God’s plan.”
Rooney, a retired F-16 pilot with several combat tours in Iraq under his belt, was returning home to Grand Rapids on June 6, 2006.
As his flight touched down, the pilot announced the flight carried the remains of Cpl. Brock Bucklin on board and asked, out of respect for his heroism and his family, that all passengers remain seated while his casket was unloaded.
Rooney watched the flag-covered casket leave the plan, and saw Bucklin’s family, including his twin brother and Bucklin’s family waiting to receive the casket.
“That seed of patriotism he planted in me on July 6, 2006, on a fateful night where I was on a flight with Cpl. Buckland, who had been killed in Iraq, what inspired me more than anything that night was Jacob, Brock’s son.
“He was there that night, and I couldn’t help think of my own kids. Who would be there for him to make sure he could dream as big as he wanted, to be a Georgia Bulldog, to do whatever he wanted to do?”
Rooney’s Folds of Honor foundation provides a brighter future for those whose parents or spouses are injured or killed while in the line of duty by the form of college scholarships.
The initial fundraiser for the Folds of Honor was a meager golf tournament at Grand Haven Golf Club.
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.