Matthew Burgett’s seizures started when he was overseas, serving his country in Iraq.
The seizures have continued since he left the Army National Guard in 2008.
Burgett said the last one was about three to four weeks ago.
He’s classified as non-deployable by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and is waiting for the military to change his records from unconditional to medical.
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Burgett has a 14-year-old son, Timothy, and like so many military families that deal with adjusting back to civilian life after the military, the assistance for future education for spouses or children is hard to come by, unless they meet the requirements for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
“It’s just like a prison inmate,” said Burgett, who served from 2000-08. “You go into prison, you’ve got your way of life in prison, and you’re used to looking over your back. And looking, and noticing the package underneath the vehicle or the tin can being a possible detonator.”
But that’s where the Folds of Honor Foundation comes into play.
The nonprofit organization’s major fundraiser is Patriot Golf Day, where the mission statement reads, “provides postsecondary educational scholarships for the children and spouses of military men and women disabled or killed while serving our great nation.”
Partnered with the USGA and PGA of America, Patriot Golf Day began in 2007 by Major Dan Rooney.
Golfers across the country that want to participate can donate through an added $1 to their greens fees at participating courses this weekend.
“It’s a gateway for people to show appreciation to the family members, as well as the members that have sacrificed everything they have in combat or for even being in the service, period,” Burgett said.
Folds of Honor spokesperson Ginny Creveling said 1,163 scholarships (42 in Florida) have been awarded, with $5.3 million raised since the first Patriot Golf Day in 2007.
Creveling said Patriot Golf Day isn’t limited to Labor Day weekend, and courses can hold events throughout the year.
Manasota Operation Troop Support serves Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans before, during and after deployment and their families.
Director Linda Craig said they don’t currently have a scholarship fund set up, which makes Folds of Honor different.
“I do think it fills a void,” Craig said.
For scholarship information, visit www.foldsofhonor.com/scholarships.php. More information on Patriot Golf Day can be found at www.foldsofhonor.com.