|Updated: 9/02 7:18 pm
||Published: 9/02 7:11 pm
Monday was not only Labor Day but also Patriot Golf Day. While people were teeing it up around the nation, the founder was teeing it up in Owasso where it all started.
For Maj. Dan Rooney, it was more than a dream and it was about more than golf.
Rooney said, “Six years ago I wrote a one-page email above my garage in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and the title was Patriot Golf Day.”
Since then, the event has attracted golfers nationwide-- and raised more than $17 million for thousands of military families in all 50 states.
He said, “It’s pretty cool when you think it started right here at the Folds of Honor Foundation in Owasso, Oklahoma.”
Rooney said more than 2000 people in the Tulsa-area are playing Monday. They joined more a million golfers at about 5,000 courses across the country.
It was all to raise money for the children and spouses of military men and women, who have been disabled or killed while serving our nation.
He said, “It's one of those moments you look back and there's only one logical explanation. There's a higher force that's conspired on our behalf to help these spouses and kids.”
Rooney is a former F16 pilot with Tulsa's 138th fighter wing. He’s completed three tours of duty in Iraq.
He knows what it means to serve, what it means to sacrifice and what Patriot Golf Day means to so many families.
He said, “It’s about that 1 percent that volunteers to defend the other 99 percent of us each and every day.”
A Vietnam veteran and his two sons golfed with Rooney Monday.
Veteran Mark Waller said, “It’s incredible, what they’re doing, the dedication and the staff they have and how many people are involved in that.”
Rooney said last year they raised about $4.3 million during Patriot Golf Day.
He said, “Today to get to share this Patriot Golf Day with Mark and share stories, it’s a real honor.”
Waller said his son won this opportunity to golf with Rooney in a contest.
Waller said, “People here are phenomenal, phenomenal people.”
FOX23 is working to find out how much money they raised this year and if they met their goal of more than $5 million.