St. Charles Preparatory School was host to U.S. Air Force Maj. Dan Rooney, founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation, and paid tribute to local military service personnel and veterans during the school's third annual "An Evening with ..." speaker series on Sept. 7.

The series raises funds for the St. Charles Endowment Fund and awareness for the school at 2010 E. Broad St. The St. Charles student body is comprised of more than 630 students, representing seven counties, 53 elementary schools and 42 central Ohio Catholic parishes.

The funds raised at the event and others throughout the year provide financial assistance to 38 percent of the student body, said principal James Lower.

"Tonight we're providing the resources to build the resources to build the future leaders of our community," he said. "One of the life principles we hope to instill in each of our students is the responsibility to serve their fellow man. Phrases like 'we are our brother's keeper' translates to deeds, not words, and are part of our daily mantra here at St. Charles."

As part of the program, Lower recognized St. Charles alumni who have served in the military. He asked veterans to stand, and they received applause from the capacity crowd that filled the school's Robert C. Walter Commons.

In his presentation, Rooney discussed leadership principles that determine success. He is an aggressor fighter pilot with the 301st Fighter Squadron for the U.S. Air Force, a philanthropist and author of the book, "A Patriot's Calling: Living Life Between Fear and Faith."

Rooney's nonprofit organization, the Folds of Honor Foundation, provides scholarships to the spouses and children of military service members who have been disabled or killed in action. In the five years since its founding, Folds of Honor has raised more than $70 million and awarded more than 10,000 scholarships, according to a press release.

Education is one of the most important tools to equip young people for success at every stage of life, Rooney said.

"The mission here at St. Charles is so impactful and so important," he said. "Traditional, core American values that inspire are shaped here every day."

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