FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. --- On Saturday, retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Aaron Hale put grilled peppers, beans and tomatoes into a pot of chili he and Magnolia Grill owner Tom Rice were making for a fundraiser the next day at the restaurant.
Hale, who was blinded in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2011, was cooking up the grub as part of a benefit for Building Homes for Heroes, an organization that is working to build a home for another wounded warrior, Air Force Master Sgt. Joseph Deslauriers, and explosive ordnance disposal technician.
Deslauriers lost both legs and part of his arm in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2011. Building Homes for Heroes broke ground in November in Destin on a home for him, his wife, and their young son.
Hale was a line cook and then a chef in the Navy before he joined the Army. He has continued to hone his culinary skills even with the loss of his sight and some of his sense of smell.
Find more information about the organization and the project to build the Deslauriers home at www.buildinghomesforheroes.org.