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Making Education a Priority for the Family of America's Fallen

December 23, 2018

We boast a lot that we’re the largest employer of veterans in the Illinois gaming market. We’re proud of that fact, and along with prioritizing employing veterans, we’re always looking for new ways to support the men and women who make sacrifices to keep us safe. Earlier this year, we began a partnership with an organization who shares our values: Folds of Honor.

Folds of Honor is a non-profit organization that provides educational scholarships to the spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members. Folds of Honor tells the story of their founding:

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 fallen or disabled.

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 service members and their families, he would live as a reminder among civilians that it is our duty to honor the sacrifice 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 non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational scholarships to the families of these heroic Americans.

Accel team members were touched by Folds of Honor’s mission and felt motivated to act. Beginning mid-2018, Accel Entertainment formed a partnership with Folds of Honor and in August organized a campaign to raise money for the organization. Employees were offered the opportunity to donate directly from their paychecks to Folds of Honor, receiving thank you gifts of t-shirts and hats for their donations. Since beginning this partnership, representatives of Folds of Honor, including scholarship recipients, have attended Accel Entertainment company meetings and events to share their mission with all of our employees.

As veterans, parents of active men and women service members, and patriotic Americans, our employees rallied to support this organization, raising a total of $24,075. Accel Entertainment matched this donation amount and bumped it up for a total donation of $50,000 for 2018.

We’re so proud of what we’ve accomplished this year, but that is only the beginning. We look forward to continued collaborations with Folds of Honor in 2019!

If you’d like to make a donation to Folds of Honor, visit https://www.foldsofhonor.org/donate/

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