AURORA — On June 12, 2011, Army Spc. Edward Guldin was on foot patrol in Afghanistan when his life changed forever.
Just two months into his first tour overseas, the 21-year-old soldier stepped on an improvised explosive device. Missing both his legs above the knees, Guldin was sent back to the states where he began the transition to life as a wounded warrior.
Now, five years later, Guldin is getting help with that transition, and its due in part to a major fundraiser in Aurora where hundreds of people gather each year to golf for a good cause.
Saturday morning, dozens of motorcycles and classic cars escorted Guldin and his family to Wells College for the annual HR Wilson Memorial Golf Tournament.
According to Rick Wilson, the tournament began back in 2003 in memory of his father, WWII fighter bomber pilot and avid golfer Homer R. Wilson.
"When we started, I thought it'd be nice to support our nonprofit organizations like the local fire departments and ambulance funds," Rick said. "But a few years later I said, 'What am I doing? I should be thinking of something for our veterans.'"
In 2008, Rick partnered with Homes For Our Troops, an organization that builds specially adapted houses for severely injured veterans, and the tournament has donated all of the proceeds to the military charity ever since.
This year's recipient, SPC Guldin will be given approximately $20,000 from the two-day tournament to go towards the building of his new home in Dexter.
"This home will give me my freedom and my independence back... and I will be able to once again provide for my family," Guldin said. "This home will benefit all of us, not just me."
According to Homes For Our Troops, more than 1,700 service members have returned to the United States from post 9/11 wars with life-altering injuries. And their mission is to help injured veterans rebuild their lives.
Last summer, Army SFC Jeffrey Hackett received his new house from Homes For Our Troops. A friend of Guldin, Hackett attended the golf tournament Saturday to show his support and give thanks.
"I know when Ed gets his house, he'll have the freedom to do what he likes and he won't have to worry about his safety anymore," he said. "He's going to feel a lot safer there."
Nearly 100 people will participate in this weekend's golf tournament, which concludes Sunday with 9 hole best ball and 9 hole scramble.