OWASSO, Okla. – Folds of Honor has named Colonel Jim Ravella, USAF (Ret.), as president, announced Major Dan Rooney, Folds of Honor founder and CEO. In this new role, Ravella is responsible for the overall management of the Folds of Honor staff and the execution of the annual budget, fundraising and distribution of educational scholarships.
“As our organization continues to grow and serve more and more families, we needed someone with Jim’s organizational and leadership skills overseeing our day-to-day operations,” said Rooney. “We’re thrilled to have Jim join our team, and we are confident that he will elevate the Folds of Honor mission and ensure that we serve our deserving scholarship recipients in the best way possible.”
Prior to joining the Folds of Honor team, Ravella served as the director of pilot training programs focused on the United States Air Force T-38 replacement program with General Dynamic C4S. He holds a bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in aerospace management from Embry Riddle University.
Colonel Ravella served more than 26 years in the United States Air Force as an F-15E pilot and completed his Air Force career in 2012 as the chief of the F-35 coordination and training office at Randolph Air Force Base outside of San Antonio, Texas. As the first F-35 operations group commander, he was part of the initial cadre of F-35 pilots and was responsible for the installation of the F-35 pilot/maintenance training base for the United States Marine Corps, United States Navy, United States Air Force and seven partner nations.
Ravella married Ginger Gurley Gilbert in 2008. Her first husband, Major Troy Gilbert, was killed while serving as an F-16 pilot in combat operations in Iraq; a widower himself, Ravella lost his wife, Andrea Fuller Ravella, to breast cancer in 2007. He adopted Gilbert-Ravella’s five children, Boston (16), Greyson (14), Isabella (11), Aspen (8) and Annalise (8), who are all Folds of Honor scholarship recipients.
“I gratefully accepted this position at Folds of Honor because I truly believe in its mission: to honor those who sacrifice for our freedom,” said Ravella. “Since my children are Folds of Honor scholarship recipients, I know first hand the impact that this organization makes on a family. That impact goes far beyond the monetary support – it tells the family they are not forgotten, that their sacrifice is not forgotten, and we as a nation are thankful.”