5th annual fundraiser for two Iraq/Afghanistan veterans

By on September 11, 2009

ELBURN—For the fifth consecutive year, “The Wounded Soldier Fundraiser” will take place to benefit two Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans.

This year the golf outing will be held at Hughes Creek Golf Course in Elburn on Saturday, Sept. 19. The Honey Bears will be present again this year both on the golf course and to entertain at dinner after the outing.

Again, this year, two soldiers will be honored—Petty Officer Elliot Miller, Navy Seal BUD/S from Pulaski County, Ill., and SPC Aaron Carlson of Annawan, Ill. However, if the goal of $60,000 is met, four soldiers will be supported.

Miller suffered life-threatening injuries while under enemy fire in the dangerous Al-Anbar province of Southern Iraq in November 2006. He fell victim to a massive IED (improvised explosive device) explosion that caused severe burns to his hands and legs. He also suffered three open bone fractures, massive loss of blood and a traumatic, closed head, brain injury.

Close to death, Miller was in a coma for four weeks. The decision was made to amputate his severely injured left leg above the knee and it was here that he received the Bronze Star with Valor and the Purple Heart. Miller was assigned to a traumatic brain injury rehabilitation center in Omaha, Neb. Intensive speech therapy is ongoing to improve his prosthesis and wheelchair skills.

Carlson was seriously injured when a bomb detonated outside Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan, on Jan. 17, 2009. While fueling operations were being conducted, an armored Army suburban van was struck by a suicide vehicle-borne IED (SVBIED). The explosion was so extensive that it caused damage to buildings on Camp Eggers by blowing out windows and rattling walls and ceilings.

Carlson’s injuries include TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), memory loss, loss of vision in his left eye, hearing loss in his left ear, nerve damage to his lower spine, loss of all cartilage in his right knee, numbness and loss of control in his right hand, joint damage in his right wrist and right shoulder.

A member of the Galva Army National Guard Unit and 634th BSB/based in Joliet, Carlson underwent treatment at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. and is now recuperating at home.

Registration begins at noon for a 1 p.m. shotgun start. The format is a “scramble”. Again this year the Honey Bears will be on hand during the event for photos with golfers, to take part in putting contests and to perform for 40 minutes after dinner.

The non-for-profit fundraiser was established in 2005 by Vietnam Veteran Ed Huss of Sugar Grove Township to provide assistance for a soldier that was wounded in Iraq. “The fundraisers began,” said Huss, “because his previous Vietnam Veteran reunions yielded hundreds of dollars of unspent donations. My wife, Judie, suggested using the funds to help a wounded Iraq veteran. The rest is history.”

In 2005, $9,000 was raised for Kyle Burleson of Springhill, La., who was paralyzed from the neck down when a sniper shot him through the neck. This money, along with funds from “Homes for our Troupes”, was used to build a home for Kyle and his family that would accommodate his many physical needs.

In 2006, $6,600 was raised for Latseen Benson of Leaque City, Texas, who lost both legs in a roadside bomb. The money helped pay for a car made to accommodate Bensen’s needs.

In 2007, 15,400 was raised for Victor Rojas whose right leg was shattered by a rocket propelled grenade. The golf outing raised $15,400 that was used as a down payment on a house for the Rojas family.

In 2008, $40,000 was raised for Lt. for Lt. Terrance J. Peterson, III and TSgt. Israel Del Toro Jr.

Golfers, at $115, and hole sponsors at $150 are still being sought. Register early as registration is accepted on a first come, first served basis. Registration forms can be accessed at thewoundedsoldierfundraiser.com.

To help with the fundraiser by playing golf, making a contribution, sponsoring a hole or volunteering, please contact ed@thewoundedsoldierfundraiser.com. Donations may be mailed directly to The Wounded Soldier Fundraiser, 6S260 Hankes Road, Aurora, Illinois 60506.