Major Dan Rooney tells a story which many Americans never get the chance to hear. It’s a story of sacrifice, bravery, loss and heartache. But it’s also a story of Patriotism, faith, pride and commitment. For those of us which have heard it, we know we are forever changed.
That is exactly the story of what happened to Perry & Anne Schmidt of Wayzata, MN. In the Spring of 2013 Perry and Anne were headed to Las Vegas for a weekend of fun, country music and fellowship. Unknowingly to them, this is the weekend their lives would forever be changed.
Perry and Anne were invited by chance to a bowling event benefiting the Folds of Honor. Having not heard of Folds of Honor before, they still decided to attend, even though it was a Friday night in Las Vegas! Arriving with few expectations, Perry and Anne were faced with the heart-wrenching story of the graceful Ginger Gilbert Ravella. Ginger was a gold star wife, who lost her loving husband Troy, a few years earlier.
Troy, an F-16 fighter pilot jet, served our country as a hero, having gone down saving the lives of over a dozen soldiers in the Iraqi desert. He left behind five beautiful children under the age of nine, and his wife Ginger.
During Ginger’s speech, her composure, pride in her husband, faith in God, a will to fight and move on, inspired Perry & Anne. They knew they had to do something to give back to these families who willingly give so much for our freedom, sometimes even their lives.
Ginger’s story hanging over them like a heavy cloud coupled with hearing Major Dan share the story of the night which changed his life forever, they knew it was meant to be. “Synchronicity,” as Major Dan calls it; where chance meets purpose. By chance, God had brought them to this little bowling alley in the middle of Las Vegas, where the Schmidt’s found their purpose; supporting those families those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Following the weekend, Perry and Anne made a commitment to start the Minnesota Chapter for Folds of Honor. While it was Ginger and Major Dan’s stories who brought them here, those were only two of thousands the Folds of Honor support. Thanks to Perry and Anne, the Folds of Honor Minnesota chapter is now standing in the gap for more families, like Ginger’s. Giving them hope for a brighter future, and voice to the community of Minnesota.