It was a trip I’d made a number of times – SFO to Seattle, Seattle to Anchorage, Anchorage to Kodiak.  This time my family had traveled up ahead of me and I was on my way to meet them.  Unfortunately, the weather had other plans and I ended up ‘stuck’ in Anchorage airport for 2 days.  With all this child-free time on my hands and in the same boat as many other stranded Kodiak-bound travelers, I set about making some friends to pass the time with.  As I waited to board the flight that finally landed me in Kodiak, I made my last 2 friends of my airport adventure – two warriors traveling with the Wounded Warrior Project on a Kodiak Expedition.  One had no legs, one arm, long scars on his head, neck and arms – he had been back from the Middle East for over 5 years and has a two year old.  The other had lost an arm and seemed to have returned from the war relatively recently.
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) provides tangible support for the severely wounded and helps them on the road to healing, both physically and mentally.  WWP helps injured service members successfully transition into civilian life and reintegrate into their communities.  Support and counseling for wounded vets as well as their caregivers is another benefit the project provides.  The Kodiak trip is one of many trips donated annually by individuals and corporations to enable these individuals to connect with one another while having access to some good old-fashioned fun.  Additional programs include peer mentoring, job training and alumni support.
Three years ago, the Wounded Warrior project became a beneficiary, along with Athlete’s for a Cure, of CrossFit’s annual Fight Gone Bad fundraiser.  Unlike prostate cancer, where unfortunately we all know someone who has been affected, the Wounded Warrior Project always felt a bit more distant to me.  Sitting there next to these 2 guys really brought home the benefit that every dollar raised brings to the lives of these young men and women who have given their life, as they knew it, in service to our country.
Fight Gone Bad has always been an awesome day here at FIT where participants accomplish more then they thought themselves capable of.  Each person comes in with his or her own motivations and goals.  At the end of the day, not only will each participant go home with the satisfaction that comes from physical accomplishment, but also with knowledge that their efforts helped and inspire those whose suffering unfortunately does not end when the workout does.
If you are, or are thinking about, participating or donating and need some added inspiration, please take a few minutes to read the stories of some of our country’s wounded warriors: