Breaking a sweat to support vets

By KELSI LOOS | The Frederick News-Post | Published: August 2, 2015

FREDERICK, Md. (Tribune News Service) -- The X-Project gym in Frederick didn't let new ownership stop it from participating in an event to honor military personnel.

Saturday, the gym hosted the 31Heroes Workout of the Day for the third time. The national event was created to honor the lives of 30 service members and a military K-9 who died Aug. 6, 2011, when an Extortion 17 helicopter was downed in Afghanistan.

"It's important to a number of our members and our staff for it to continue," owner Michael Gaines said. "We have a big community with very supportive members who always make it out."

Organizers planned the day of exercise to raise funds for the families of those killed. It was hosted at 430 gyms across the U.S. and had more than 10,000 participants who raised $300,000.

Organizers created The 31Heroes Project in response to the success of that first event to raise funds for programs that support service members and their families.

Several of the 50 or so participants at the X-Project said they normally work out at the gym anyway, but they were eager to support the service members through the Workout of the Day.

"I like to work out," 15-year-old Cody Swigart said. "I'm a big supporter of the military ... and it's fun coming here."

Swigart said he wrestles for Urbana High School and likes to keep in shape. He hopes to serve in the military some day in some sort of medical capacity.

The athletes worked in teams, taking turns lifting barbells, climbing ropes, leaping onto boxes and running while carrying bags of sand.

Rob Hale, of Keedysville in Washington County, served in the Navy until he retired in 2002. He spent 20 years as a diver.

He got into CrossFit, following the lead of his wife and sons, as a way to keep fit after leaving the service.

The Workout of the Day event was a chance for him to show support for everyone connected to the military.

"I love to support all this kind of stuff," he said, "because I know it's not easy being in the military all the time."

(c) 2015 The Frederick News-Post. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.