Folds of Honor Celebrates North Texas as They Kicked-Off the 2023 Gala

Mark your calendars now for the annual gala on Saturday, November 11, 2023

(Featured photo:  Sarah Duncan, North Texas Senior Director of Impact; Holly and Jim Trester, Honorary Chairs and hosts; Meredith Allen Connally, North Texas Regional Impact Officer.)

Folds of Honor North Texas  celebrated its committee, supporters and sponsors as they kicked-off its 2023 gala with a lively and festive gathering graciously hosted by honorary chairs Holly and Jim Trester.  It was an evening of energetic conversation in support of Folds of Honor and its mission to provide educational scholarships to the spouses and children of military members who have fallen or been disabled while serving in the United States Armed Forces and now, the Folds of Honor mission is expanding to incorporate America’s first responders, including police, fire-fighters, EMTs and paramedics.     

Stunning welcome at the entrance

It was quite a stunning welcome as guests entered and were greeted with a red, white and blue balloon arch of stars and stripes, which echoed the patriotic theme throughout the event. Everyone enjoyed tasty treats from Neighborly Provisions, including a brisket taco station, tables full of charcuterie and tasty desserts of cake pops and more as cocktails were served under the cooling shade of the estate’s back patio with live music serenading country and pop tunes in the background.

Jim welcomed the crowd, saying he and Holly were delighted to be on board with Folds of Honor and thanked Ryan LLC for their partnership and generous gala title sponsorship of $250,000. He shared his experience as the son of a fallen hero and recipient of his education through the GI Bill, saying that opportunity has made him who he is today.      His story brought to life the meaning of Folds of Honor’s mission and how the crucial funding for its scholarships directly benefits the families of disabled and deceased military members and first responders.

Folds of Honor national president, Col. Nick Nicholas, shared his personal story saying that when he was 15 years old, he learned his father was in a tragic accident and that as a third-generation fighter pilot, he understands the feeling of one’s life having to take another path.  He said it was that experience that gives him the internal passion to help these families know that “we’ve got your back,” and that what Folds of Honor does is not a handout, but a thank you. He said that as a retired 30-year veteran, serving these families in this way is very meaningful.           

He said last year, the North Texas chapter brought in $4.5 million and the goal is for even more support this year, encouraging everyone to join in the annual gala happening on Saturday, November 11th on the field of AT&T Stadium. The evening will bring together military families, veterans, scholarship recipients, first responders and members of the North Texas community in an event of celebration that includes dinner, an auction, live entertainment by Party Machine and fellowship. The money raised is used to provide educational scholarships to the nation’s most deserving families, the ones that sacrifice to protect our freedoms. 

Justin Garcia, Alexandra Powers, Johnny Powers, Cintia Powers

Sarah Duncan, North Texas Senior Director of Impact joined the event with her husband, Ty Duncan; Meredith Connally, North Texas Regional Impact Officer attended with her husband, William Connally as well as Mike Beltz, North Texas Board Chair and his wife Jane Beltz; Kristin and Andy Mitchell, Cintia and Johnny Powers and more.      

Folds of Honor is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships to the spouses and children of military members who have fallen or been disabled while serving in the United States Armed Forces, and now expanding to incorporate America’s first responders, including police, fire-fighters, EMTs and paramedics. This move reflects its purpose to meet sacrifice with hope and show first responders and their families that they are not alone.  There are nearly 2 million first responders in the United States who respond to approximately 240 million calls made each year. Every time they respond to one of these calls, they are putting their life on the line. In 2021 alone, 669 law enforcement officers and 135 fire-fighters perished while on duty in the U.S.

Matt Beltz, Bailey Beltz, Jessica Titko, Jane Beltz, Mike Beltz, North Texas Board Chair

Its educational scholarships support private school tuition or tutoring in grades K-12, tuition for college, technical or trade school and post-graduate work, including a master’s degree, doctorate, or professional program. Funds for a second bachelor’s degree or trade/technical program certification are also available.

Since its inception in 2007, Folds of Honor has awarded nearly 44,000 scholarships totaling nearly $200 million to the spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members in all 50 states.

The Scene

Appreciation for U.S. military service members and First Responders is the single most unifying position held by Americans. On this Folds of Honor agrees: Those who protect our freedom and our families deserve our unwavering support.

Folds of Honor was founded as a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization in 2007 by Lieutenant Colonel Dan Rooney, a PGA Member and F-16 fighter pilot currently stationed at Eglin AFB Florida as a member of 301st Fighter Squadron and served three tours of duty in Iraq. As he returned home from his second tour of duty in Iraq on a domestic flight, the airline pilot announced they were carrying the remains of a fallen soldier, asking passengers to respectfully remain seated while the casket deboarded. He watched as the family of the deceased walked somberly alongside the flag-covered casket. Among them was the young son of the fallen Corporal. Seeing the other side of the war through the eyes of this fallen soldier’s child was life-altering. He decided he had to do something to pay tribute to American service members and their families, and thus, Folds of Honor was born.

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Photos by Thomas Garza

(Sharon Adams, Adams Communications Public Relations, is honored to represent Folds of Honor gala and associated events and post this Philanthropy Lifestyles Scene.)


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly, the award-winning eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharon is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Dallas Business Journal, Katy Trail Weekly, People Newspapers (Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People/North Dallas People), Preston Hollow Life magazine, The Park Cities News, White Rock Lake Weekly, numerous blogs and websites and more.