Men’s And Women’s Golf Join Folds Of Honor Movement

Posted on April 14th, 2015 by

Andrew Brandt and Jordan Drenttel carried the Folds of Honor bags last weekend at their respective tournaments.

St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s and women’s golf teams began their participation in an initiative to support the Folds of Honor Foundation last weekend at their respective tournaments. The Folds of Honor Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the families of fallen and disabled service members.

“Randy Stuckey and I heard about Folds of Honor while attending the coaches convention in December,” said Head Coach Scott Moe about the origin of Gustavus’s involvement. “A representative from the Folds spoke about the program and how the proceeds support family members of fallen or disabled soldiers. For us, it was a no brainer. It was a program the golf community cares deeply about and we wanted to get involved any way we could. We immediately jumped on board with the movement and hopefully we will see other teams in our area join in.”

The mission statement of Folds of Honor is as follows:

Of the one million-plus dependents adversely affected by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly nine out of 10 do not qualify for federal scholarship assistance. Folds of Honor seeks to meet this need by providing annual educational scholarships to the military families of those who have been killed or disabled while in active duty. These help support private education tuition, tutoring and educational summer camps for children K-12, as well as higher education tuition assistance for spouses and children. Since its founding in 2007, the organization is proud to have awarded over 7,500 scholarships, including over 2,000 in 2014 alone.

Folds of Honor proudly stands in the gap by providing educational scholarships for the spouses and children of U.S. military who were killed or disabled while serving our country. Folds of Honor has grown from a vision into a movement. The folded flag logo is a constant reminder of those who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom of America. It inspires us to help equip and educate their loved ones in need of our support.

Army Sergeant Jennifer Switzer

Army Sergeant Jennifer Switzer

Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Dorff

Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Dorff

Along with many PGA, LPGA, and Champions Tour golfers, Gustavus stands with the Folds of Honor. The Gusties’ unique participation in this movement involves the carrying of two golf bags in honor of two soldiers. Each bag (one for both the men’s and women’s teams) will be carried by a different player each week until the end of the 2015 season. At the end of the year, the bags will be auctioned off at the team’s annual fundraiser and the proceeds will be donated to the Folds of Honor Foundation.

“It’s not only a great way for us to honor two individuals and get involved with such an outstanding organization; it’s a great way to generate discussion on this topic,” said Moe. “As we travel to such great locations and have the opportunity to play a sport we love, we sometimes need to take a step back and reflect on the fact that we are playing a game and that there are people out there putting their lives at risk for our freedom every day. It puts things in perspective to see an actual soldier’s name. This is a real human being who made the decision to protect our freedom. That’s a powerful statement and one I hope will promote this movement.”

The men’s team will carry a bag dedicated to Army Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Dorff of Buffalo, Minnesota. Dorff gave his life on Jan. 25, 2004, trying to save a fellow soldier after the Kiowa Warrior helicopter he piloted crashed into the Tigris River during a search for a solder whose boat had capsized. Dorff joined the Army after graduating from Buffalo High School in 1990. Filled with a passion for flight at an early age, Dorff was trained as a helicopter pilot and was formally commended numerous times for his work in the Army over more than 13 years. He is survived by his wife, Jamie, and daughter, Brisa. Brisa is a Folds of Honor Children’s Scholarship Fund recipient.

At this past weekend’s Augustana Invitational held in Milan, Illinois, junior captain Andrew Brandt (Medina, Minn.) was the first to honor Patrick Dorff by carrying the golf bag graced with his name.

“I was very honored when Coach Moe asked if I would carry the bag; it kept things in perspective throughout the tournament,” said Brandt. “The bag I carried was in honor of Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Dorff, who gave his life trying to save a fellow soldier.”

“The Folds of Honor program does amazing things for families of those killed or disabled in combat by providing annual scholarships for education,” Brandt said as he discussed the program. “I was proud to help raise awareness and had several players and coaches each day asked me about it. Hopefully other teams will follow the trend and honor the great men and women – like Patrick – who serve our country. I am excited for the rest of my team to get a chance to carry the bag, they are all more than capable of doing so.”

The Gustavus women's golf team at this weekend's Illinois Wesleyan Invite.

The Gustavus women’s golf team at this weekend’s Illinois Wesleyan Invite.

The women’s team will carry a bag graced with the name of Army Sergeant Jennifer Switzer of Watertown, South Dakota. Switzer served as a medic in a special troops battalion and served overseas in Baghdad, Iraq for 15 months. Despite suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, back problems, hearing loss, and various other service related issues because her deployment, Jennifer went back to school after her deployment and earned her medical lab technician degree. She met her husband while serving and they now have a two-year-old son.

At the Kathy Niepagen Spring Fling in Normal, Illinois, the bag dignified by Army Sergeant Jennifer Switzer’s named was carried by senior captain Jordan Drenttel (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.). Drenttel said that it was an honor to be the first to use the bad and that it generated a great discussion within her group.

“I got so much positive feedback and everyone wanted to know more information about the movement and how their team could get involved,” Drenttel said. “One girl even went over to the bag and started reading about Jennifer. That was so cool to see and I could tell that it struck a cord with everyone.”

For Jordan and the rest of the team, this was an opportunity to put things into perspective. “At the end of the day, we’re out there hitting around a white golf ball while there are men and women making the ultimate sacrifice to protect our right to do so. It’s a humbling thought and a powerful movement, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

There is also a sense of realness and authenticity attached to each of these bags, and the Gusties got that feeling immediately. “Seeing Jennifer’s name on the bag and reading her story made everything much more real,” reinterred Drenttel. “We talk about supporting our troops but a lot of times our troops become this faceless and nameless concept that we know we should support, but we don’t really know anything about them; what they are going through and what they are doing for us. It hits home even more when you realize that this soldier is from South Dakota because we have a two teammates from Sioux Falls.”

This weekend at the Bobby Krig Invitational being held Sunday and Monday at Ridges at Sand Creek and the Le Sueur Country Club, senior Ben Elvestrom (Dellwood, Minn.) will carry Patrick Dorff’s bag. At the MSU, Mankato Invitational on Saturday and Sunday at the SourthFork Creek Golf Course and North Links, senior Sam Falk (Glenwood, Minn.) will carry Jennifer Switzer’s bag

For more information about the Folds of Honor Foundation, please follow the link below.

https://www.foldsofhonor.org

 


One Comment

  1. […] The Gustavus men’s and women’s golf teams began their participation in an initiative to support the Folds of Honor Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to provide educational scholarships for the spouses and children of U.S. military who were killed or disabled while serving our country. Read about this special program here. […]