It was my wedding day, Dave was stationed in Korea. It was so unfortunate that Dave was unable to be there at the church with me and my soon-to-be wife. He was such a great friend to us both. We had shared countless evenings filled with fun and laughter. After the service, as we were approaching the receiving line, I was told I had a phone call. I couldn’t believe it. Dave had called to congratulate us. I’ll never forget it. I answered the phone and I got the typical ‘What’s up Dog?”, he then said “Are you busy?”. I could just see that famous grin stretching across his face as he thought, I got him. That simple little phone call meant a lot to my wife and I and is one of those Dave stories that we’ll never forget.
This story is so symbolic of Dave, not only did he love to surprise people with over the top kindness and thoughtfulness, he genuinely enjoyed being an amazing brother and friend. I am truly blessed to have been a part of his life and thankful for every one of the memories that we made together.
Catch you on the flip side Donkey!
November 1st. This day always sneaks up on us. Always a fun, energy-filled few days leading up to November 1st with Halloween. Whether you are trick or treating with your children, at a costume party at someone's house or snuggled up in a bar fighting to get a drink, November 1st doesn't really set in until right about now....it's been 9 years. Think about that, 9 years.....
2007 - Tim Tebow wins Heisman Trophy
2008 - Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be elected President of The United States
2009 - US Airways Flight 1549 makes an emergency landing into the Hudson River shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport in New York City. All passengers and crew members survive.
2010 - A deadly earthquake strikes Haiti killing 230,000 people
2011 - Osama Bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks and the FBI's most wanted man is killed by United States special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan
2012 - Hurricane Sandy strikes the east coast
2013 - Boston Marathon bombings
2014 - New York's 104-storey One World Trade Center officially opens 13 years after the September 11 attacks
2015 - Hillary Clinton announces she will run for the Democratic nominee for US President for the 2nd time
2016 - The Presidential Election...'nuff said.
With the years and events that have passed since 2007, Dave has not been forgotten. Do each of us think about him every day? Probably not. Not speaking for everyone that reads this, but we have all gotten through this tragedy and have gone on to live our lives. But November 1st, this is the day. This is the day that time does, in fact, stand still. Some of us visit his grave site and some of us just take a minute to say a prayer or think happy thoughts about The Donkey and his infectious smile. We all have our own special stories about him that we have shared publicly or have chosen to keep private. November 1st is and will always be Dave Day. Take just one minute tomorrow to think about Dave; I guarantee your day will brighten!
Happy Halloween today and Happy Dave Day tomorrow!
Who likes to hold a book....an actual book made of paper bought in a store? Or do you use an e-reader or listen to a book in your car during your commute? Whatever the case, keep reading!
I'm a words on paper kind of guy. I enjoy opening a book, reading who the book is dedicated to, and completely skipping over the table of contents then diving right in. Before all of that though, it all starts in the book store. I go in blind without really knowing what I'm looking for. I walk up and down the aisles, taking my time through the sports section, slowly but quickly through the self-help aisle then a ceremonial pass through the sex section (not porn, relax!). I even walk through the puzzles and the legos. I'm a grown ass man but I still enjoy legos. Through all of these aisles, I always end up in current history, specifically warfare in the 21st century. Every book I have bought and read from front to back have been true stories written by American heroes that have faced war head on, in real life. Pictured above, except for Denis Leary's comical yet to-the-point view of why we suck, Trump's think big and kick ass attitude and The Chief's rise to football greatness, have all been war based, true and written by actual men and women that have served this great country. I don't have a favorite book because they all tell different stories. The funny thing is, they all are similar at the same time.
But to be honest, I keep buying and reading these types of books for three reasons:
1. Inspiration. As simple as that, no explanation needed.
2. A pilot at heart. In high school, my dream was to enter the Air Force and fly BUT my eyes failed me. I was either going to fly or nothing at all. I had no choice but to choose the latter. By reading these books, I am able to live vicariously through these brave soldiers and their blood, sweat, tears AND triumphs.
3. It's all about Dave. This may seem far-fetched, but the main reason I keep buying and reading these books is because I hope at some point in the thousands upon thousands of words, I'll come across a paragraph about Dave. Hell, even a sentence about Dave would suffice. I don't want to read about how he lost his life, but I know that a major part of these books I buy carry the tragic outcome of death. The point is, I simply want to know, the good and the bad.
I haven't read a book of any topic in quite some time. In fact, the last one I started (but have yet to finish) is "The Wright Brothers." Reading for me is like going to the gym...once I stop, I find it hard to pick back up again. With that said, it's so much easier to pick up a book than to pick up a dumbbell, so book it is!
See you all July 9th!
Allen epitomizes the definition of humble. Such a successful individual yet he lives his life helping others. I met Allen for the first time last year at "The Dave." He drove up from Baltimore to attend the event and to speak on behalf of The Folds of Honor The evening before the event, him and I had dinner, just the two of us. I was nervous. I knew so much about him professionally from being in the golf industry. The mere size of the man made me nervous let alone his successful and distinguished career in the golf industry. What was great about the dinner and our conversation was that he simply listened. I did all the talking which I certainly wasn't comfortable with but I sensed that he wanted to know all he could about myself, Dave, his family and the history of the golf event. I knew right away that Allen was more than just a famed golfer.
Allen has served as the President of the PGA of America while also being a member of the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame. He has guided and formulated many plans that are still in effect today that revolve around growing the game of golf while all along, mentoring his fellow PGA Professionals. He simply never stops helping but he never stops learning either. He is a student of the game at heart but his new found passion is why he is now a friend of The Dave Wieger Memorial Fund. As the Director of Golf Development & Relations with The Folds of Honor, Allen promotes the game but more importantly, The Folds of Honor, through events like "The Dave." When he speaks everyone listens. He is soft spoken but he drives his point home with influence and inspiration.
Despite being a Baltimore Ravens fan, Allen is a special man; a man with a mission to preserve and protect the value of education for military families. Allen, thank you!
For more information and a more in depth story of Allen, please visit https://www.pga.org/allen-wronowski-pga
Ladies and gentlemen....Mr. Allen Wronowski.
My plan for this post was to give you a look into Major Ed Pulido's life and the mission he has taken on and why but Major Ed's story is a story that only he can tell. It comes from the heart with passion, excitement, a little sadness but most of all, it's about triumph and dedication to so many causes near and dear to his heart. Major Ed is the Senior VP of Military Affairs with the Folds of Honor Foundation. Along with that, this great and heroic man also founded the Warriors for Freedom Foundation which is a leadership institute focused on mental, physical and wellness support of our wounded veterans and their families. While traveling with his convoy in 2004, Major Ed's vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. Major Ed Pulido may have lost his left leg but his soul and his constant battle for freedom still rings at a high volume and with such awesome excitement.
Major Ed is a lifelong partner, supporter and friend of The Dave Wieger Memorial Fund. He travels the country more days out of the year than anyone should but he does it because of his passion to bring awareness of the need that military families deserve. He has told me many times that out of all the prestigious events he attends and speaks at, The Dave Wieger Memorial Golf Event is in his top five favorite events to attend. It's not a corporate affair or a fancy black tie gala; it's about friends and family getting together to honor one single man, one heroic individual who risked it all. Major never met Dave, but he certainly knows Dave; he knows what Dave fought for and eventually sacrificed for. After attending the Dave Wieger Memorial Golf Event for the past seven years, Major Ed understands the idea behind what we do and why we do it. Watching him interact with Dave's friends and the Wieger family is a somber and humble thing to see. Watching Mrs. Wieger embrace Major would bring a tear to anyone's eyes.
I really would like to continue to tell Major Ed's story in written words, but that wouldn't do him any justice coming from me. You need to see and hear Major Ed speak. You will instantly be motivated, inspired and fully understand the work the Folds of Honor Foundation is doing for this country's military families.
Did I mention Major Ed is a huge Steelers fan?! Steeler nation baby!!
Ladies and gentlemen....Major Ed Pulido.
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to David, Happy Birthday to you! (Did you sing along in your head like I did?).
Today, Dave would've joined the ranks of the 37 year olds that are slowly, if not already, losing their hair, growing their guts and thinking about that sports car that needs to be sitting in the driveway.
I imagine Dave being 37 but still with the personality of a 27 year old; finding fun in just about any situation and any conversation. He certainly didn't take life too seriously and we all admire that. He would've been an awesome 37 year old man.
Happy Birthday, friend.
For those of you who are not familiar, all proceeds from the Dave Wieger Golf Event are humbly donated to The Folds of Honor Foundation. This foundation and the mission behind it is the exact reason they were very carefully chosen as the charity of choice for The Dave Wieger Memorial Fund. It's all about the children. Dave, himself, a gentle warrior, would've certainly been instantly connected to The Folds of Honor just as I was.
If you are not familiar with The Folds of Honor, please take a moment to read below into the history of the foundation and its founder. And please visit www.foldsofhonor.org for even more information and how to directly contribute to their mission.
The Vision of a Humbled Hero
"Returning home from his second tour of duty in Iraq, Major Dan Rooney, an F-16 fighter pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, became painfully aware of the reality families face when a loved one in uniform is killed or wounded.
As his flight landed, the pilot announced they carried the remains of Corporal Brock Bucklin on board, asking all passengers to respectfully remain seated while his casket deboarded. Major Rooney watched as Corporal Bucklin’s twin brother walked somberly alongside the flag-covered casket to meet his family. Among them was the deceased Corporal’s young son, Jacob. Major Rooney ached as he thought of his own wife and little girls. Seeing the other side of war through the eyes of Jacob, was life-altering. Sadly, over half the passengers had disregarded the pilot’s request and deboarded. Major Rooney decided he had to do something. Not only would he pay tribute to American soldiers and their families, he would live as a reminder among civilians that it is our duty to honor the sacrifices of those who preserve the freedoms we so easily take for granted.
Major Rooney committed to spend his life changing the future of America’s grieving spouses and children. In 2007, he formed the Folds of Honor Foundation; a 501C-3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to the families of these heroic Americans."
"In the folded flag we see the heavy price of freedom. Yet it's also a symbol of hope, representing the enduring ideals that make this country a beacon of democracy. The Folds of Honor chose this logo because it reflects their mission - to honor the sacrifice of America’s heroes, while giving hope to the bearers of their legacy.
Folds of Honor has grown from a vision into a movement. This folded flag is a constant reminder of those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. It inspires all of us to help equip and educate their loved ones in need of our support."
The Founder - Major Dan Rooney
Major Dan Rooney, as you read above, is the founder and visionary of the Folds of Honor. He has the unique ability to, both, be inspired by the hundreds of military families affected by war while also being the inspiration for so many Wingmen such as you and I. Not only is Major Dan a prolific philanthropist, but he is also an F-16 fighter pilot, a PGA of America golf professional, founder and visionary of The Patriot Golf Club (a Robert Trent Jones, Jr design in Owasso, OK) and to top it all off (which, really, what else can this man do?), he penned his own book detailing his love of life, the military, and his driving faith. For even more details and a closer look into the life of Major Dan Rooney, please visit www.patriotscalling.com.
Ladies and Gentlemen....Major Dan Rooney.
Welcome to the new and improved website honoring OUR HERO DAVE. I want to thank each and every one of you for your continued support of The Dave Wieger Memorial Fund and of the annual golf event.
For those of you that are new to what we do...it's simple. We set out back in 2007 to honor everything Dave was and continues to be in our hearts and minds; a normal person with super human powers.
My hope with the Bravery Blog is to start a dialogue full of memories and thoughts about Dave. I'll start adding posts as I feel fit but trust me, I can really go off on tangents. Please keep any and all comments PG rated. I'm all about freedom of speech but please be respectful with your written thoughts.
Again, thank you and hope you enjoy my posts moving forward.