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Wounded Marine needs your help in Port Royal today

PORT ROYAL -- Organizers are hoping Beaufort's military community will turn out Saturday to help a Marine critically wounded in combat.

Live Oaks Park in Port Royal will host the Marine Sgt. Eddie Ryan Benefit Concert from 1 to 7 p.m. today. Featuring Spike Ivory and Friends and Kirk O'Leary, Bluffton deputy fire commissioner, the event is a fundraiser forRyan, a Marine sniper wounded in Iraq in 2006.

An Ellenville, N.Y., native and Parris Island graduate, Ryan was shot twice in the head in a sniper attack in April 2006 on a rooftop in Al Qaim,a town northwest of Baghdad.

Ryan was shot below the jaw and above the eye.

Though he was able to get off of a life support system in less than a month, Ryan has had to undergo intensive and costly physical therapy that the Veterans' Administration has been hesitant to pay for and his family can't afford, said Steve Mangione, one of the event's organizers.

It is the first time a fundraiser has been held for Ryan in the Beaufort area, where both he and his father graduated from basic training.

Three poker runs have been held for Ryan in Carteret, N.J.

The fundraiser moved south when one of the organizers, musician Ivory, moved to Bluffton.

"We've committed ourselves to going out and helping the Ryans with whatever they need," said Jeri LaMorte-Kopin, a lead organizer. "We want to raise awareness about traumatic brain injury. We have come so far with technology but the facilities that we have have not kept up with the knowledge."

Ryan's injuries have confined him to a wheelchair, but the former Marine sniper is beginning to regain movement in his hands and feet, Mangione said.

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