Lieutenant Colonel Dan Rooney of the U.S. Air Force was forever changed by an experience he had flying back home from his second tour of duty in Iraq. As he boarded United Flight 664, he noticed a soldier in Army Greens sitting in first class. About an hour-and-a-half later, as the plane pulled up to the gate, the captain announced: “We have an American hero on board.”
The captain then informed passengers the plane was carrying the remains of Corporal Brock Bucklin. The soldier who Rooney noticed on the plane earlier was Bucklin’s identical twin brother. As he looked out on the tarmac he saw Corporal Bucklin’s four-year-old son right below the cargo ramp as his father’s American flag-draped coffin was brought down.
It was at that moment that Rooney decided his new mission in life: to help others through what he calls “the other side of war.”
In 2007, Rooney founded the Folds of Honor Foundation, a nonprofit that provides scholarships to the families of fallen or disabled heroes. As of today, Folds of Honor has provided more than 35,000 scholarships. This year, Folds of Honor will fund 6,400 scholarships totaling approximately $35 million.
Coming Together For Good
Folds of Honor was started at Rooney’s home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. When Associated Builders and Contractors of Oklahoma (ABC Oklahoma) heard about his mission, they offered to build Folds of Honor’s headquarters as well as donate all materials and labor.
After experiencing years of growth, the organization needed a bigger space. Once again, ABC Oklahoma stepped up and offered to build Folds of Honor a bigger headquarters. More than 40 general contractors and specialty contractors from ABC Oklahoma and their vendors are donating their labor and materials. The new 30,000-square-foot building is scheduled for completion in 2022.
“The passion that I see from our members when you talk to them about this project fires me up. It brings together our members who are otherwise competitors, but when it comes to a project with a mission greater than their day-to-day work, everybody comes together as a team,” said John Smaligo, ABC Oklahoma President.
“When new stakeholders come on board, we immediately get them into Procore. They have access to the drawings, project documents, and the submittals and RFIs tools so they can track these workflows. As contractors, we know how important communication and having everyone on the same page is,” explained John VandeBogart, ABC Oklahoma board member and Senior Project Manager at Flintco.
“When you talk to our contractors who are providing the workforce and materials that you see going into this building, I think they all recognize the benefit that Procore has had with the project, and it would not be running as smoothly without it. There’s no question,” added Smaligo.
For Colonel Nick Nichols, Executive VP of Folds of Honor and a retired F-16 fighter pilot who served his country for more than 30 years, the generosity of ABC members has been incredible.
“Everything that we do here at the Folds is done with intention. This building is going to serve as a memorial for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Nichols.
The new headquarters will feature a greatly expanded capacity to host scholarship recipient families. It will include features like a memorial wall with boot prints cast in bronze to honor deceased and disabled soldiers, an authentic fighter pilot bar, and a spacious outdoor area for reflection.
“Our scholarship recipients will tell you that being part of this organization is much more than just getting educational aid each year,” said Nichols. “They find people who care about honoring their mom or dad and want to tell their stories. They have an extended family.”
If you’d like to support Folds of Honor, please consider donating or joining the Folds of Honor Squadron. If your company is interested in donating materials to support the build, please reach out to Associated Builders and Contractors of Oklahoma at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Procore.org launched its nonprofit program in 2017 to donate Procore’s software to nonprofit organizations like Folds of Honor. Today, more than 230 nonprofits have free access to Procore’s software and receive training on how to use it.