Golf tournament held in El Cajon to benefit Wounded Warriors

Cottonwood Golf Club donates facility for event

SAN DIEGO - About 280 golfers -- including dozens of active and retired military -- participated in the 8th annual Wounded Marines Golf Classic at Cottonwood Golf Club in El Cajon.

Although the title says "Marines," the tournament benefits all branches of the military.

One of the wounded military members golfing for the first time in the tournament is Marine Staff Sgt. Mike Rios, who is stationed at Camp Pendleton.

In 2010, Rios was hit by a rocket in Afghanistan. He broke his femur, injured his knee and suffered from blackouts and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I have a lot of pain in my leg I'm just going to have to deal with, but it'll give out and I'll have to start limping," Rios said.

Rios is now on the road to recovery with the help of his service dog, Bugsy.

The new golfer said he is in awe of all those who came together for this event.

"The support that we get from this is great. Honestly, it just kind of takes me back," Rios said.

Former Congressman Duncan L. Hunter spearheaded the tournament several years ago. The money raised supports the discretionary needs for the wounded military personnel at Naval Medical Center San Diego and their families.

Hunter said the event would not be possible without the help from the community, including the owners of Cottonwood Golf Club, who donated the facility for Monday's fundraiser.

"You're going to give everything? And [the owners] said, 'Didn't the wounded guys give us everything?'" said Hunter. "So there's no cost. We're all volunteers."

Organizers hope to raise $40,000 from the event.

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