EGLIN AFB, Fla. (WALA) - An Army and Navy veteran who lost his vision while serving overseas is competing in a benefit golf tournament. Despite his disability, he's set to compete to raise funds for the organization that renders him aid.
Army Staff Sergeant Aaron Hale used to be an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) soldier. He served multiple tours in Afghanistan and disabled more than 50 bombs.
On December 8, 2011, however, one of those explosives detonated in his face and permanently blinded him.
"The lights went out, and I was thrown onto the ground," Hale said.
"Almost a year later, Hale doesn't let the injury get him down.
"Every one of those IEDs that I took off the battlefield saved someone's limbs, saved someone's life, possibly," Hale said. "That's why no matter what I wouldn't have taken anything back; I wouldn't change my mind in a heartbeat."
Hale said he has off days, but one thought gets him through.
"I've got a terrific family, beautiful children, a wonderful wife who's very patient, very loving, and I really do lead a wonderful life," Hale said. "And I'm also blind."
The upbeat 34-year-old is competing in Fairways for Fisher House, presented by InDyne. The golf tournament is the largest fundraiser held each year to benefit the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast.
FHEC provides free housing to Hale and his family while he undergoes medical treatment.
"They're doing things for us that is definitely not in their job description," Hale said. "They're just doing it out of the kindness of their hearts, and it just melts ours."
The event will be held on September 13-14 with a shotgun-start golf tourney on September 13 at Kelly Plantation, followed by a Gala and Silent Auction on September 14 at the Eglin Bayview Club.
"We are honored to be able to serve all Veteran's from all branches of the military, no matter their length of service. I am just lucky to be able to share this family's story with you," said Fisher House executive director Kim Henderson.
So far this year, FHEC has served over 400 guests and provided over 1,400 bed nights to military families.
Sponsorship opportunities are still available, starting at $1500 to enter a team. Tickets are also available to the Gala for $50 each or a sponsorship of a table for $1000.
For more information, go to the FHEC's website: http://www.fisherhouseemeraldcoast.org/
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