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14D AGO

Folds of Honor scholarship recipient Nickolas Frederick Wead embodies spirit of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday

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Folds of Honor Recipient and Ohio State law school student Nickolas Wead. (Credit Wead family)

Folds of Honor Recipient and Ohio State law school student Nickolas Wead. (Credit Wead family)



    Written by Jim McCabe @PGATOUR

    His world these days is a whirlwind of case studies and law books. After all, Nickolas Frederick Wead is two down with one to go in his three-year Ohio State University Law School mission, and this summer he’ll be working at Amundsen Davis, a business and litigation law firm in Columbus, Ohio.

    But where Wead also feels comfortable is within a military setting, given that both his father, Richard, and stepmother, Tina Jeanell Grogg Wead, are retired Navy. He remembers different deployments for both enlisted personnel that separated him from Richard and Tina, those Skype sessions at strange hours, and everything about their service to America fills Nickolas with pride.

    “To know they both have (health) complications from their years of service saddens me,” he said. “But their service has long stood as a beacon of humble leadership and a commitment to protect others.”

    So consider Nickolas totally overwhelmed to have been selected as a Folds of Honor recipient.

    A heralded 501(c) (3) non-profit that was started in 2007, Folds of Honor has awarded over 52,000 scholarships totaling nearly $244 million to military service members and first responders families. Its newest initiative, Folds of Honor Friday, will debut at the second round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday. Tournament spectators will be urged to wear red, white, and blue; the National Anthem will be played Friday at the conclusion of play; and ribbons will be distributed.

    Subsequent Folds of Honor Fridays will be held at other select PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, and Korn Ferry Tour tournaments throughout the year.

    “I can’t tell you how honored I am to receive this scholarship,” said Wead. “It comes in very handy because taking on additional debt to finish Law School is not what I wanted.”

    Though being a “Double Buckeye” is a badge of honor with Nickolas Wead – his undergrad degree was in economics – there was a time when he passionately pursued the chance to follow Richard and Tina into the Navy.

    Nickolas Wead attended Ohio State football games for years with his father, so as a student he jumped right into the process to be part of the famed Block O (the official student cheering section of the Ohio State Buckeyes). (Credit Wead family)

    Nickolas Wead attended Ohio State football games for years with his father, so as a student he jumped right into the process to be part of the famed Block O (the official student cheering section of the Ohio State Buckeyes). (Credit Wead family)

    “I definitely had interest in Ohio State, but the Naval Academy appealed to me,” he said. “I got the Congressional nomination, but in the final round I was not selected.”

    Dejected, yes. But being able to attend his beloved Ohio State was the best consolation prize ever. And, oh, how Nickolas Wead embraced the entire experience in Columbus. He had attended Ohio State football games for years with his father, so as a student he jumped right into the process to be part of the famed Block O (the official student cheering section of the Ohio State Buckeyes).

    To one of the essay questions he had to answer in his Folds of Honor scholarship application, Wead wrote: “Despite my unlikely status as an incoming sophomore, I threw my hat in the ring. To my astonishment, I was elected amongst a candidate pool of upperclassmen to lead the football section in the coming season.”

    Wead personifies what Folds of Honor strives to do with these many scholarships that have been distributed for more than 15 years. Not only is he passionate about his studies (“I’m still figuring it out, but I’m thinking civil law” will be his focus), but he has a relentless respect for how Richard and Tina were willing to do so much for love of country.

    At various times they had deployments to Iraq, Djibouti, and Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, and dozens of other assignments throughout the world.

    “I am incredibly fortunate enough to have not just one but two parents who are retired from the Navy,” he wrote in his application. “Both parents have had a profound impact on my life and I would like to take this opportunity to honor the military careers of each.”


    Wead specifically credits Tina for leading him to this Folds of Honor scholarship application. “I had heard of Folds of Honor, but knew nothing about the scholarship,” he said.

    “I was telling Tina that one of the big hurdles (of continuing Law School) was the financial commitment so her telling me about the scholarship program was a blessing.”

    In his application, Wead wrote about being raised in a house with two military parents: “I have the utmost respect and pride in our service members. Despite the tough-love mentality of the military, both of my parents have demonstrated unwavering support and compassion for me and my pursuits.”

    That Folds of Honor Friday will be connected to golf leads Wead to confess it’s not a sport that he played growing up. He played football until freshman year in high school when he chose to run track.

    “But my brother and I did play golf on visits to our grandmother in Tennessee when we were kids. I would actually like to start playing more, if I could find the time,” he laughed.

    Folds of Honor Recipient and Ohio State law school student Nickolas Wead. (Credit Wead family)

    Folds of Honor Recipient and Ohio State law school student Nickolas Wead. (Credit Wead family)

    As for his first name – Nickolas – he knows it sounds similar to a legendary Ohio State golfer who is the face of the Memorial Tournament. But no, there’s no connection to Jack Nicklaus.

    It’s part of family folklore how he was named after a great-grandfather whose gravestone misspelled the man’s name. “His name was Nicholas but on the gravestone it was Nickolas.”

    So, he inherited the name, typo and all. Nickolas Frederick Wead can easily brush it aside. After all, so much about his life has gone beautifully correct and this Folds of Honor scholarship is the latest example, so if afforded the chance to pen a thank you note, he would offer this:

    “Thank you for believing in my potential and contributing to the success of my future. My aspiration to become a community leader, devoted to the service of others, is made possible by your support.”

    Jim McCabe has covered golf since 1995, writing for The Boston Globe, Golfweek Magazine, and PGATOUR.COM. Follow Jim McCabe on Twitter.

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