This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 1, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now, each fiscal quarter, the FOX Nation will donate a portion of its merchandise proceeds to a different charity. Now, this quarter, the FOX Nation will be contributing to the Special Operations Warrior Fund.
Now, the charity was chosen after hearing the story of Keith Zeier, a U.S. Marine who was severely wounded in Iraq by an IED explosion in July of 2006.
Now, Keith's left leg was shattered so badly in that attack that he was told by doctors that he would not be able to walk again without the help of a cane, but Keith, well, he had other plans. And just a few months ago, he completed a 100-mile ultra-marathon in Florida, raising $50,000 for the Special Operations Warrior Fund.
We're very honored to have Keith Zeier with us here tonight. Keith, welcome to the program. Good to see you.
• Video: Watch Sean's interview
KEITH ZEIER, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: Thank you.
HANNITY: I don't get it. How — you had this — how did you run all those miles? Thirty-one hours it took you.
ZEIER: Yes, it took, and I took some pitfalls during the race. On mile 75, I had to get an I.V., and they wanted me to go to the hospital because I lost so much weight from throwing up and fluids. But...
HANNITY: How much...
ZEIER: ... I said no. I kept going and finished the weigh.
HANNITY: How much weight did you lose?
ZEIER: I lost 21 pounds on the run, so...
HANNITY: On that one run?
HANNITY: You must have been dying inside through this thing.
ZEIER: Yes, my stomach was the worst part. As well as, you know, it actually helped. Everything else in my body hurt besides my legs.
HANNITY: It's an incredible story of heroism. You're a great American. Why don't you walk us back and take us to Iraq and the day this IED blew up — went off? Tell us what you remember.
ZEIER: On July 17, 2006, my vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device, and that left me with a traumatic brain injury, as well as the muscles and nerves were severed in my left leg. So I had three surgeries in Iraq to stabilize me, and then I was sent from there to Germany, and from Germany to Bethesda, where I spent another few months in the hospital and had another surgery. So...
HANNITY: Yes. And what is the status now of your leg? It's not completely healed, then?
ZEIER: No, no. It's healed as best as it can be right now. But I still have, you know, the nerve pain and the muscle pain. And so I'm in constant pain when I sit down or if I do something.
HANNITY: And what is the long-term prognosis now for your leg?
ZEIER: Long-term, still don't know, especially when it comes to the traumatic brain injury, because doctors still don't know the effects of blast injuries. So just got to keep seeing how it goes on.
HANNITY: Do you — do you wake up in the middle of the night, I mean, and just remember this? Or have you forgotten a lot of it? Or...
ZEIER: A lot of the event itself I don't really remember, but I definitely wake up through the night with the pain from my leg and everything. So that's the main issue.
HANNITY: You basically live in a constant state of pain?
HANNITY: Very, very difficult. Now, I've met a lot of kids that have been severely injured, and we've been doing these concerts. We have, you know, eight of them in August all around the country, our Freedom Concerts. My Web site, Hannity.com, for those of you who want to come.
But — and you meet these guys that either have been severely injured, and you meet the families that have lost loved ones. The price is high for freedom. You joined up in the armed services after a friend of yours' father died on 9/11.
ZEIER: Yes. My best friend, Mike Kresse. His dad was Lieutenant John Kresse (ph) of Hazmat 1. And once that happened, it was set for me. I was going to join the military. So I graduated early and had — and tried to convince my mom. She signed for me, and I went in when I was 17 to the Marines.
HANNITY: Now, if you — if you had to do it over again, even knowing this would happen to you, would you do it?
ZEIER: Yes, I would — no question about it. You know, definitely, bad things have come from it, but the military in general is the best experience of my life. And just meeting these amazing people.
HANNITY: I met kids — in Walter Reed, I met a kid one that lost — had just lost his leg, and his biggest complaint to me was that he couldn't go back and be with his — his regiment, his — with his friends.
ZEIER: That's the same thing with me. During the hospital, that was the roughest part. My unit was still over there. And me, myself, I went back to active duty, and I tried staying in. But because of my injury, I wasn't able to do my job, so that's what ended up getting me out. So I wish — I would do anything to go back right now.
HANNITY: You would? Why — why do you feel that level of commitment? And what did you think of how the war was politicized back here by so many people?
ZEIER: Like I would love to stay in, especially I loved being a recon Marine. I loved meeting these amazing people, whom I got to serve with. So, you know, the military was a great thing for me.
HANNITY: Yes. Well, it's amazing. So you've raised all this money, and you're going to run in the New York City Marathon, I understand?
ZEIER: Yes. A few weeks ago, I was at Yankee Stadium, accepting a check on behalf of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. And someone contacted me, so I'm going to do that. And to raise money, I'm going to run with a 50- or 75-pound pack in boots and canon bounds to try to raise money and awareness.
HANNITY: You will do all that in this?
ZEIER: Yes, in the New York City Marathon.
HANNITY: I've got to tell you, you're putting me to shame. I can barely do 45 minutes on my stupid treadmill without passing out.
It's like — I've got to tell you. You are a truly an American hero. You are a great inspiration. You know, anytime I feel like complaining about, you know, the little things in my life that are wrong, I think of soldiers like you and the guys that I met at Walter Reed and some of the guys that I met in Iraq when I was over there. You guys are amazing. So God bless you and what you're doing now.
ZEIER: Thank you very much, sir.
HANNITY: By the way, the FOX Nation, we've got so a portion of the proceeds are going to go there.
Do you like red?
(HANDS HIM A RED FOX BALL CAP)
ZEIER: Yes, I love red.
HANNITY: You like white?
(HANDS HIM A WHITE FOX NATION T-SHIRT)
HANNITY: Take that. You like a blue hat?
ZEIER: Love it. Thank you. Oh, man.
HANNITY: How do you like cups? Do you like these, too. Coffee?
ZEIER: You're filling up my hands here.
HANNITY: Take those, too. And I hope you'll come as my guest to one of our Freedom Concerts.
ZEIER: I'd love to.
HANNITY: One in New Jersey. We'd love to have you there.
ZEIER: I would love to.
HANNITY: Your story is quite inspiring. God bless you and your family.
ZEIER: Thank you very much.
HANNITY: And thank you so much for all you've done. And good luck with the charity and everything that goes with it.
ZEIER: Excellent. Thank you.
HANNITY: And FOX Nation, by the way, dot com. And buy that stuff, and a lot of the proceeds go there.
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