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Poker Run Saturday To Raise Funds For Wounded Tampa Soldier

Posted Apr 20, 2012 by Howard Altman

Updated Apr 20, 2012 at 03:32 PM

Nearly three years ago, Army SSgt Dustin Magner was riding in a military vehicle in Afghanistan when it was hit by an IED.

Four men died and Magner, of Tampa, was among many injured. He suffered burst fractures along his spine and is completely paralyzed.

A revolutionary stem cell treatment could “give him back functionality of his bodily functions,” said Mike Whitt, who runs Operation American Pride, a charity organization that raises funds to help the wounded.

But the treatment, no longer covered, costs $75,000, said Whitt.

So to help defray the costs, there will be a poker run tomorrow between five local AMVET posts, starting 8 a.m. at AMVETS Post 44, 318 St. Pauls Dr., Brandon.

Cost is $15 per rider and $5 per passenger.

Other stops include AMVETS Post 4, 1014 Skipper Rd., Tampa, AMVETS Post 9, 14540 Black Lake Rd.,  Odessa, Neon Cowboy, 11451 Bellamy Brothers Blvd., Dade City and AMVETS Post 550, 4645 Airport Rd., Zephyrhills.

Signup is 8 a.m. at AMVETS 44. First bike out is 10 a.m. and the last bike in is at 1 p.m., which is also when the food and entertainment begins.

According to his bio:

Magner entered the Army in July of 1996. He completed basic training and Airborne School before being stationed at Camp Frank D. Merrill with the 5th Ranger Training Battalion. He completed Ranger School in September of 1998 and the summer Mountaineering Course in March of 1999. He reenlisted and was reassigned to 1st of the 501st, in Ft. Richardson, Alaska.

In 2001, he competed in the Best Ranger Competition.  He completed Jumpmaster School in 2002. SSG Magner had a brake in service between 2003 and 2007.  He re-entered the Army in 2007 as a SSG at Ft. Sam Houston.

He was assigned to 2-87 Infantry in the 10th Mountain Division as a rifle squad leader.  He deployed with the 2-87 to Afghanistan in January of 2009, and ran numerous combat patrols in the Wardak Province.

On June 1st of 2009, his military vehicle was hit by an IED while responding to another patrol which had also been hit by an IED.  Four good infantrymen died that day and a handful of others were seriously injured, including himself.  SSG Magner suffered burst fractures along his spine and is completely paralyzed .

While stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska, SSG Magner married his wife Rebecca, their son James was born in 2004.

SSG Magner attended ITT Technical Institute from 2005-2007 and received an Associate in electrical engineering.

For more information about the poker run, or to donate, go to operationamericanpride.org.

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