Military veteran auctions guitar to help Aurora families

Mike Krumboltz
The Lookout

In the wake of the Colorado movie theater shooting, Sean Horan, a U.S. Army veteran currently working as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan, found a way to support those affected by the tragedy.

[Related: Accused Colorado gunman charged with multiple counts of murder]

Horan, 26, has put his beloved custom-made Les Paul guitar up for auction on eBay, with all the proceeds going to the 12 families who lost loved ones during the shooting.  In a video posted on YouTube, Horan says that he doesn't have much money, so he decided to auction off the most valuable thing he owns. (Well, actually, the guitar is his dad's--more on that later.)  In the video, Horan's father jams on the guitar, showing the kind of sound it's capable of. Horan calls the auction "a tiny gesture of love and support."

[Complete coverage: Colorado theater shooting]

The guitar has a story all its own. "I actually bought this guitar for my dad," Horan told us via email. "He played since he was a teenager. He was in his early 20s when my oldest sister was born, and he raised 4 of us, so he never had a lot of money for nice guitars all those years. ... After paying off debt the first year of working here (Afghanistan), I finally had the means to do something nice for my dad, so I bought him a guitar for his birthday."

Horan continued: "It was far beyond anything he ever dreamed of owning. It was also, he felt, far beyond his skill level (he's very humble!), so this guitar has been hiding in his closet since he got it. After these events happened, I spoke with him, and he agreed to let me sell the guitar to support the victim's families."

Horan is sensitive to past acts of violence in his home state. "Four months after leaving Colorado for the military, a dear friend of my close circle was shot and killed in Wheat Ridge, Colo., at a friend's house with whom I've known since elementary school," Horan said. "She was 17 years old, and this event still profoundly impacts me and all of my friends that knew her. I also attended middle school in Jefferson County when the Columbine High School tragedy occurred. Columbine High and September 11th were significant factors in my decision to join the Armed Forces."

[Related: Three Aurora victims were boyfriends defending girlfriends]

Horan and his dad will miss the guitar, but they both believe auctioning it off is the right thing to do. "Even an ounce of sadness about letting it go would be so inappropriate when thinking of what those families are going through right now. That's left us both humbled an[d] honored to have the opportunity to feel so much joy about saying goodbye to this prized possession, knowing it might bring just a sliver of relief to the families."

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Check out the guitar. According to Horan, all proceeds will go to the families who lost loved ones during the shooting.