"Father of the Year," scholarship winners named Thursday night

An Air National Guard Major will be named the "Father of the Year" Thursday night and three local military families will also be awarded scholarships.

Major Dan Rooney has been chosen as the National Father & Son Team Classic's "Father of the Year."

Rooney is a former F-16 pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard and is the founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation and Patriot Golf Day.

The Folds of Honor Foundation is a non-profit organization that has raised more than $22 million and has awarded nearly 5,500 educational scholarships to the family members of soldiers killed or disabled in combat.

Three military families will also be attending the ceremony Thursday night, and Rooney will present each of them with a Folds of Honor scholarship. The students receiving the scholarships are:

Ryan Boyd, a junior at College of Charleston studying Business Management. Ryan's father, Army Specialist Robert Tasso, served in Vietnam.

Laura Den Bleyker attends Everest University pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice. Her husband, Marine Corporal Joseph Den Bleyker, served in Vietnam and was exposed to Agent Orange, which still affects his life today.

Alexis McCann is a future-use scholarship recipient. Her stepfather, Army Staff Sergeant Andrew Montgomery, stepped on a dismounted IUD while on patrol in Afghanistan. He recently graduated from the Golf Academy of America in Myrtle Beach and aspires to obtain his PGA Professional status to help other wounded and disabled veterans learn the game of golf as a form of therapy.

Rooney has received the White House's Presidential Volunteer Service Award, the Air National Guard's Distinguished Service Medal, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and The PGA of America's Inaugural Patriot Award for his work with the Folds of Honor Foundation.

The tournament committee of the National Father & Son Team Classic has chosen the Folds of Honor Foundation as the tournament's 2014 charitable benefactor.

The ceremony is being held tonight from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Barefoot Resort & Golf.