Hayes plays for all the right reasonsPublished 7:00am Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Hayes Weathersby, a graduate of Poplarville High School, and 19-year-old sophomore at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, has earned college scholarships with his natural ability in golf, a sport that he has played for only two years.
Golf has also brought him opportunities to do things for others, something that he has found rewarding beyond anything he had anticipated.
Weathersby has competed in some big tournaments in his short career. His favorite by far has been the Patriot All-American in Phoenix, Ariz. with the Folds of Honor Foundation as the beneficiary of the Tournament.
The Folds of Honor Foundation was founded in 2007, by Major Dan Rooney. In addition to being a former F-16 pilot, golf course owner, PGA Professional and USGA member, Rooney was a Major in the Air National Guard and a decorated military aviator. Rooney, who has served three combat tours in Iraq, witnessed a profound situation that drove him to create the Folds of Honor Foundation after his second tour.
“The Patriot All-American Tournament was really amazing,” Weathersby said. “I got to play with big people in the sport and they gave each of us a bag to use with a different soldier’s name on it. The bag I had was in honor of William A. Blount.”
Army Spc. William A. Blount, from Petal, died April 7, 2010 in Operation Freedom.
“After the tournament, the Folds of Honor organization auctioned the bag for the family,” Weathersby said. “I was really glad to help the family and the organization. The organization does a lot for military families who are affected by either deployment disability or loss of loved ones through wars.
“One of the ladies got up and we presented the bag to her. It was awesome.”
The Folds of Honor site says, “Over 700,000 soldiers have been killed or disabled in the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan–Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and Operation New Dawn. These service members’ families exceed the national average of 2.5 dependents per household. As of January 1, 2012, over one million dependents have been adversely affected by multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 87 percent of the dependents affected by the recent wars do not qualify for federal scholarship assistance. While the federal government provides some support for these families, it cannot succeed alone without proactive civilian organizations to assist.”
Weathersby says his background in sports is as a baseball player. That has helped him understand the psychology of competitive sports.
“You never compete against someone else,” he said. “You have to stick to your own game and play against your own ability. That is how you improve and keep in the right frame of mind.”
“I’m not sure if I will major in business or philosophy, but I am learning a lot of things right now and looking forward to my future,” he said.
For more information on Folds of Honor, visit: http://www.foldsofhonor.org/