Student connects with veterans and families through nonprofit internship

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Folds of Honor is a 503(c)1 non-profit organization that donates money to the familes of soliders that have died or been wounded while serving in the military. The organization was created in 2007 by Major Dan Rooney, who served in Iraq. According to their website, “Our mission is singular and focused: Provide educational scholarships to the families of killed or disabled American military – the heroes who stand guard over our freedom. Our motto says it best: We will leave no family behind on the field of battle.”

Folds of Honor has eight chapters around the United States. They are located in Southern California, Chicago, Central Texas, North Texas, Kansas City, Minnesota, Indiana and Northern Florida. The nonprofit has partnered with Budweiser, Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA), QuikTrip, Jimmy John’s, The Rite Aid Foundation, Outback Steakhouse, Titleist, Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines, United States Golf Association (USGA), Bushnell, Lift a Life, Fox and Friends, Brothers and Company and Perrigo.

Alexis Buford, William Jewell College senior biology major, is interning for Folds of Honor at the Kansas City chapter located in Prairie Village.

“Currently I am in charge of all social media. We had an Instagram, but that is no more. But, anything you see on the Kansas City Folds of Honor Facebook page is me. I do a lot of promoting stuff when we have an event coming up,” said Buford.

She became interested in Folds of Honor in January 2014 after being introduced to the organization.

“I became really close to the president of the Kansas City chapter and asked ‘What can I do? Get me involved please,’” said Buford.

Buford has met a recipient of a Folds of Honor scholarship, a former Jewell student.

“I met a woman, her name is Colleen Katzenberger. She didn’t graduate from Jewell, but she was in Zeta [Tau Alpha] and grew up where I grew up. And her husband Jeremy was killed in action and he left behind her and her baby Everett, who was four months old. And you see the war movies and you read the books but it’s different when you sit there and see a mom with her son telling a story. And it broke my heart. And I was like, ‘Okay, this is happening everywhere,’” said Buford.

Through this internship she has also had the opportunities to meet Major Rooney, attend a Mavericks game and play in a golf tournament benefitting Folds of Honor.

“Folds of Honor has a golf bag program and so you get to get a bag and sponsor a soldier and all day you carry that bag with a soldier’s name that says ‘In honor of.’ I chose to do Jeremey K. and I got to present the bag to Colleen and Everett,” said Buford.

Buford offered a few suggestions for Jewell students are interested in supporting Folds of Honor.

“Give to the cause, if there is an event, go to it. QuikTrip has the black cups that say Folds of Honor so you can buy those. If they want stuff, they can come find me and they can buy it. All proceeds go to Folds of Honor,” said Buford.

For those interested, you can check out the Facebook page for the Kansas City chapter of Folds of Honor or contact Alexis Buford.

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