WILBURTON, OK (Feb. 1, 2015) – Retired U.S. Army Major Ed Pulido has been described as a real American hero. His story of courage and sacrifice after a devastating injury while on duty in Iraq, as well as his mission to assist veterans will be the focus of Eastern Oklahoma State College’s 11th Julian J. Rothbaum Distinguished Lectureship Series.
“Challenge, Triumph and Change: The Major Ed Pulido Story” will be presented on Monday, Feb. 16 at 11 a.m. in Mitchell Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.
Pulido, a 19-year veteran with the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve 75th Division, is the senior vice president of the Folds of Honor Foundation, a veteran’s charity which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled during service. He is also a founding member of Warriors for Freedom Foundation, a leadership institute focused on the mental, physical and wellness support of wounded veterans and their families.
On Aug. 17, 2004, Pulido was seriously injured when he hit an improvised explosive device (IED), or roadside bomb, while serving in Iraq. Due to the extensive injuries to his knee, doctors had to amputate his left leg. During his time in the hospital, Pulido experienced depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicidal ideation that would cripple his positive spirit.
Pulido says he eventually triumphed, but the experience changed him. He felt he now had a true mission: to serve other wounded veterans with their ongoing needs and raise awareness about the sacrifices made to keep our nation whole.
“I was given a second chance to do something bigger than myself,” said Pulido. “Before August 17, 2004, I wasn’t educated about how important it was to have a purpose or a passion. But God tested me that day, gave me hope and another chance to do something really worthwhile.
“Our veterans know what we can accomplish on the world stage, but they also want opportunities – to work, be productive and not be patronized or relegated to the notion they have returned home as damaged goods, Pulido said. “Through my personal story, I want to help them reach their goals so that when they encounter their own set of challenges, they can also experience their own triumph and change.”
Pulido was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and Joint Service Commendation and Achievement Medals for his heroism and valor. He is a national and global spokesperson for Acadia HealthCare, Department of Defense and VA Real Warriors National Campaign and he is on the State Board of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services with a mission to address the mental health needs of returning service members, veterans and their families.
The Rothbaum Lectureship Series was created with a $25,000 gift from the late Julian J. Rothbaum, a Hartshorne native and Tulsa attorney. Once matched by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the gift became a $50,000 endowment to fund the lectureship series that is designed to help Eastern bring recognized authorities to campus to address issues of public affairs at the national, state or local level.
Rothbaum was a longtime oilman, banker, lawyer, philanthropist and former member of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. He was a strong advocate for higher education and remained an integral part of politics and public affairs during his life.