On that same day, Gary Henry, a 34-year old firefighter from
Greenwood, was already representing another team from the . He was a member of the National Guard’s 38th Military Police Company of United States . Henry, a 12-year veteran of the Indianapolis Fire Department, was overseeing special operations rescues, specializing as a driver and a paramedic. Danville
Henry was on a combat operation in southern
Baghdad while golf’s best players were tuning up their games in at a PGA Championship practice round on that Monday in August last summer. It’s doubtful that Henry, who was a sports enthusiast, had golf on his mind that fateful day. Michigan
Gary Henry’s life came to an abrupt end on August 4, 2008 when a roadside bomb hit his vehicle. Tragically, he left behind three children, Shelby (15), Gavin (11) and Ashton (8). Only those that have suffered similar circumstances can even begin to imagine the pain and suffering that the Henry family would face.
You think Kenny Perry is having a tough time dealing with the sudden death playoff loss to Angel Cabrera at last week’s Masters? Ask Shelby, Gavin and Ashton Henry what it’s like to deal with a sudden death loss like they had last summer. We all would take Perry’s fate……… in a heart beat.
I can’t tell you that Gary Henry had any tie to golf. His mother plays the game. But, from personal experience I have no golf stories that would involve this well respected and highly decorated
firefighter. But, as happens in life, fate produces strange partners. Indianapolis
In 2007, Major Dan Rooney of
, himself a PGA member, organized the first annual Patriot Golf Day. Rooney is an F-16 fighter pilot/golf pro who has flown four tours of duty in Broken Arrow, OK . He felt compelled to organize a nationwide program that would raise money to fund scholarships for families of military veterans who have been disabled or lost their lives in the line of duty in Iraq Iraq or . Afghanistan
Patriot Golf Day, supported by the PGA of America and the USGA, was a rousing success in 2007 raising over $1 million for the Folds of Honor Foundation, which is the vehicle designed to help families in need. Rooney’s efforts sparked even more interest in 2008 and in just two years over $3 million has been raised for the FHF.
Last year’s Patriot Golf Days were held over Labor Day weekend. Nationwide, more than 3,600 public and private golf facilities participated. Capping off the 2008 effort was a $130,000 donation to the Folds of Honor Foundation by Captain Paul Azinger and the 12 members of his U.S. Ryder Cup team.
On March 9, Rooney appeared at the Indiana PGA Meeting, which was held at the Holiday Inn North. He was there with his own mission- to present Shelby, Gavin and Ashton Henry with scholarships funded by Patriot Golf Day and the Folds of Honor Foundation.
“Gary Henry was a true American Hero who served both his country and his community. Folds of Honor is proud to be able to assist his children in this small way thanks to the PGA Professionals in the Indiana Section and the 28,000 PGA Professionals across the country,” said Rooney. Last year 78 golf facilities in
participated in Patriot Golf Day generating more than $36,000 in donations. Indiana
The Indiana PGA is currently working with Maj. Gen. Marty Umbarger, the adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard. There are 18 other
Indiana families who have lost loved ones in the Iraq or conflicts. The hope is to help more families like the Henry’s. Afghanistan
There is a “feel good” ending to this story. It seems that the Henry family would like to learn more about golf and actually play the game! The Henry children will be attending a session at the
courtesy of the Indiana PGA and the Indiana Golf Foundation. The Henry family has been afforded membership privileges at The Legends of Indiana Golf Club. They will be fitted for free golf clubs courtesy of Titleist/Cobra and its affiliation with The Legends. Indiana Junior Golf Academy
I can’t profess what Gary Henry would say about his son Gavin taking up the sport of golf. Gavin is an avid baseball player and all I can do is guarantee his dad that golf won’t screw up his ability to hit a baseball!
Gavin, Shelby or Ashton will never have the opportunity to spend time on the golf course with their dad. Those of us that have had that privilege know what they will be missing. But maybe someday, the Henry kids will have kids of their own and they will get a chance to share that experience.
This is a story about all of the good things that golf represents. It is the essence of what golf professionals do everyday. Patriot Golf Day will be held over Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 4-7. I hope this story compels you to play golf this weekend and help other children like Shelby, Gavin and Ashton Henry!
Please support Patriot Golf Day here at The Legends all weekend. Print this e-mail and bring it to The Legends. You make a $5 donation to the Folds of Honor Foundation and we will match it!