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Community Workouts Raise Awareness for Veterans

Jason Scott

Athletes at Aberrant CrossFit in Eldridge, Iowa, devoted their Saturday morning workout to raising awareness and funds for a startup veterans gym called Counterstrike Fitness.

Nearly 70 participants worked out at Aberrant CrossFit this weekend, performing pull-ups, box jumps, weightlifting and tire flips, all dedicated to creating attention for Counterstrike Fitness.

Counterstrike Fitness is a free veterans gym that opened in nearby Patriot Place in East Moline in June. The gym is designed to help veterans combat post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

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The CrossFit event served as a fundraiser for Counterstrike Fitness and accepted freewill donations. The funds that were raised will go to help purchase more equipment for the veterans gym, though the goal was simply to raise awareness.

“This is more about raising awareness of those struggling with PTSD and the 22 veterans a day (who commit suicide) than raising money,” said Josh Hatler, founder of Counterstrike.

Throughout the event, organizers stopped workouts every 22 minutes for a moment of silence as homage to that suicide statistic.

In addition to the Iowa CrossFit event, a nonprofit organization called Active Heroes hosted a nationwide event Saturday to raise awareness for veterans issues. Active Heroes connects active-duty personnel, veterans and their families with physical and mental therapy services.

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Active Heroes sponsored an event called Workout of the Day to Prevent Veterans Suicide on Saturday. Dozens of gyms in 38 states participated in the event, which featured 22 exercises of 22 repetitions.

"Our vets give everything they have to make this country great,” said Jon Haefner, who owns a participating gym. “It’s important that we do our part to give back to those who have given so much.”

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