By Ana-Maria Gutierrez
Major Edward Pulido is an award-winning veteran who served on the U.S. Army Military Assistance Training Team under the command of General David Petraeus. On August 17, 2004, Major Pulido’s life changed when his convoy hit a roadside bomb. He describes it as the most challenging day of his life when he came face to face with death. He underwent a 17-hour surgery and several blood transfusions to save his life.
He spent 45 days in the Brooke Army Medical Center, where he endured additional surgeries and many medical challenges. Due to extensive injuries to his left knee, doctors amputated his left leg on October 1, 2004. While he lay in the hospital bed grappling with fear, grief, and loss, he looked up and saw a cross on the wall. In that moment, he became grateful for still being alive. But Major Pulido battled long with depression and PTSD, which he describes as a “deep wounding of a soldier’s spirit.” He came to the realization that he could not walk alone on this journey. He sought help from his God, country, family, and the American people. The result of this intervention put his life on the road to recovery.
Major Pulido met with Amputee Coalition Certified Peer Visitors and learned about the services and support networks available to help him through his journey as a new amputee. He also connected with other organizations that provide peer support.
What defines me is that I stand on one leg for freedom.
Today, he is proud to share he lost his leg fighting for freedom and the opportunity for everyone to live the American dream. “What defines me is that I stand on one leg for freedom,” he says. He has embraced his new identity as an amputee and works to support and be an inspiration to others.
Major Pulido is a staunch advocate for veterans with disabilities, focusing on efforts to promote prosthetic technologies and raise awareness for the needs of veterans with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) on behalf of the DOD and VA Real Warriors National Campaign. He volunteers as a peer visitor for fellow amputees at the Brooke and Walter Reed Medical Centers with support from Scott Sabolich Prosthetics.
He founded the John Daly Major Ed Heart of a Lion Foundation, which provides mental, physical, and wellness support to our nation’s children and America’s Veterans. The Foundation offers programmatic activities supporting amputees with morale, welfare, and recreational activities. He is a founding member of the Warriors for Freedom Foundation, a leadership institute focused on mental, physical, and wellness support for wounded veterans and their families. He is also an ambassador for the Folds of Honor Foundation, a veterans’ charity that provides spouses and children of the fallen and wounded with educational scholarships.
Commemorating his courage and heroism, Major Pulido was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and Joint Service Commendation and Achievement Medals. A Hispanic American, he is one of three Purple Heart recipients in his family, leaving an extraordinary family legacy.
He lives based on a “mission-first, team-always” approach. Resiliency and perseverance are themes in his life that have enabled him to continue to be a productive individual and, most importantly, give back to the people that helped him. He authored an autobiography entitled “Warrior for Freedom: Challenge for Triumph and Change.”
Always understand there is hope. We all experience challenges in life.
He advises never to quit on the precious gift of life. “Always understand there is hope. We all experience challenges in life,” he says. Despite his challenge on the battlefield, he celebrates taking his first step as an amputee as the most powerful moment in his life.
The Amputee Coalition honors Major Pulido and all veterans for their service to our country.