Supporting Combat-Wounded Veterans Through Fitness

Supporting Combat-Wounded Veterans Through Fitness
/ Feb 18, 2021
Kit Klein

For over a decade the Catch A Lift Fund (CAL), a nationwide 501c3 non for profit, has led the charge in providing post 9/11 combat-injured Veterans with holistic methods of healing ALL injuries, mentally, physically and spiritually. CAL was founded in Memory of Cpl. Christopher Coffland US Army, who was killed in action on November 13, 2009 in Afghanistan.

Again Faster is a proud equipment provider for CAL and the veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country.

CAL promotes a healthy lifestyle focused on fitness, wellness, and accountability. Fellow Veteran leaders, mentors, & coaches manage each individual's needs taking into account injuries or obstacles.

Addiction, weight gain, depression, which are all common results of overmedicating and lack of purpose, are replaced by fostering a reliance on movement, renewed purpose and community. The results are astounding. Often cited by many Veterans, “Catch A Lift Fund has saved my life.”

One month shy of his 42nd birthday, Chris Coffland joined the US Army. He joined to protect our Country and Flag, which he passionately loved. He vowed he would most likely not return back to American soil, as to “take the place of another man or woman with a family and children back home.” In 2009, Coffland died in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb on a mission, where he did just that.

His philosophy was that one could achieve the highest quality of life both mentally and physically through fitness. Wherever Coffland lived throughout the world, when headed to workout, he coined the phrase “I’m gonna’ catch a lift," the inspiration for the Catch A Lift Fund.

Any combat-injured Veteran that has been deployed to a warzone can apply to CAL and, upon approval, enter the CAL Wellness Program. Iraq/ Afghanistan combat-injured Veterans can apply for grant funding as well.

A CAL “membership” provided to an approved Veteran participant (member) consists of lifetime access to the CAL Wellness Program.

The Wellness Program provides:

  • Coaching, mentorship and accountability provided by CAL civilian and veteran staff
  • Motivational support
  • Community connection through events nationwide
  • Womens Fitness Initiative Group
  • Full access to the Landing Zone. A proprietary on-line wellness platform including videos, articles, programming and resources.
  • LiveStream weekly podcast hosted by Veteran Coaches featuring Veteran guests
  • GRANT FUNDING for Iraq/Afghanistan Combat Injured Veterans. Grants include personal choice of a fitness gym membership anywhere in the US, or in-home equipment adapted to individual needs, and Education/Certification grant in the Wellness, Fitness or Nutrition field, extended to qualified members

Results? Thousands upon thousands of pounds have been shed, medications drastically reduced, if not completely dropped, reintegration with family members and friends, and finding a purpose again in life are results we see everyday!

TESTIMONIALS

/ED

My name is Ed and I’ve been a part of CAL for a few years. At the time I was introduced to CAL, I had narrowed my world down to a few places near my home where I could put distance between myself and others. Needless to say, a packed gym was not on the list, but I knew my weight had gotten out of control. With anxiety, depression, and a list of growing medications, I found myself uncomfortable within my own skin. I had tipped the scale at a whopping 250 pounds!! My BMI was startling to my doctors and my wife! I finally decided I had had enough, I quit drinking beer and began walking. Soon after, I traded Gatorade and lemonade for water, and set a daily goal of half my body weight in ounces. I combined walking/running with some weight and resistance band training for 30 mins, and before I knew it I was hitting 90 mins 6x a week! I’ve dropped 45 lbs and I’m 5 pounds away from hitting my first goal of 200 lbs. This is only the beginning. I haven’t had this much optimism and momentum in over 10 years, not to mention I haven’t weighed this much in the same amount of time. By my 42 Birthday in May of 2021, I plan on being 175 pounds, which will be a total of 75 lbs lost. A year ago I wouldn’t believe I’d be where I’m at now, so there is no question I’ll smash every goal I set for this year. Overall, I hope to be on fewer medications and living a healthy sober life. Thank you, CAL for jump-starting my second chance at living!

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After returning from Iraq, I found myself in a dark place of navigating through depression and nightmares. Everything I tried failed, and subsequently began to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs to lessen my new battle post-war effects. In my search for solutions to remedy my depressive state, I sought help from the VA's mental health department, but that too resulted in many medications, which made my situation bearable, but did not alleviate my conditions. After beginning my fitness journey with Catch A Lift Fund's assistance and now having been two years, I have dropped four medications. My mental health has dramatically improved, and I can now be more involved in my children's activities.

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I am a disabled veteran who has been forced out of the workforce and medically retired from the United States Army. I am a proud recipient of Catch-A-Lift equipment and it has truly saved my life and the lives of my family. When I was relieved of my last civilian job, my life began to spiral out of control and the VA prescribed me over 12 medications. After taking these medications for 4 months, I gained over 70 pounds and my depression got worse. I gained so much weight that it was hard to leave my house or walk from downstairs to upstairs in my own house. After receiving my grant equipment and access to the landing zone, I began to use my workout equipment every day and changed my diet drastically giving me new hope in my life. On top of all that, this equipment has also given me an outlet for my stress and anger rather than yell at my wife and kids. During these angry moments, I go workout and burn off my steam. Now after using my equipment for over a year, my medication intake is down to 4 pills a day, and I went from getting on average 2 hours of sleep to getting an average of 7 hours of sleep. And I truly owe that all to CAL.

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I am Army Veteran AJF, I am honored to write this testimonial for Catch a Lift. I was discharged in 2012 from the Army after a couple of overseas missions. It took me a long time after transitioning from the military to admit that I had some medical issues. My PTSD/MST broke my body down to the point of needing surgery and getting a heart pacemaker, I developed Fibromyalgia, which re-aggravated my GERD, IBS, Gastritis, Esophagus inflammation. I was hospitalized for asthma leading to COPD, due to lack of mobility my LOD for knee, back and feet became more painful to move and I developed arthritis in my spine with bone loss. I can go on with all my other disabilities which I was told by doctors that they don't know if I would be able to work out or regain my strength, but I am a woman of faith and prayed to God to give me enough to endure it and persevere from my chronic pain.

A few days later, Melissa from Catch-A-Lift called me and said "I noticed you have been on our waiting list for years for a gym membership. Would you like the option of gym equipment?" I didn't believe it until David assisted me with the items I needed to do physical therapy at home. Every single item was provided. I was in tears and my caregiver Drew who trains in CrossFit set up the equipment for me and along with the VA physical therapist developed a workout schedule.

I love the text messages I receive from CAL. Each text motivates me and I have logged in to the Landing Zone to get great food and modify exercise ideas. I began my journey on Jan 2, 2021. I have lost 5 pounds in 2 weeks. I may not be able to do many of the exercises due to the heart pacer but if I can lift the barbell 1x time or walk with the medicine ball for 5min, use the parachute to sprint 10 seconds, do 2 triceps curls with my 8 lbs, use my kettlebells for 4 squats, strengthen my core for 10min with my resistance band and use my caregiver and finance as punching bags while I use the boxing gloves for 15 minutes, then I have done more than enough. I have proven the doctors wrong.

If Catch-A-Lift can invest in my health during my hardest moment then I can push gut and persevere, my disabilities no longer define me but the willingness of others to go the extra mile for a Veteran's recovery. Thank you for helping me through my journey! All the way Catch-A-Lift!

Get Involved

Volunteers across the country are critical in helping CATCH A LIFT achieve their goals. There are many ways to get involved, including coordinating a COFFLAND HERO CHALLENGE at your gym. Learn more about how you can support Catch A Lift's mission by visiting https://catchaliftfund.org/volunteer/.

If you are a diabled veteran interesting in applying for the program, visit https://catchaliftfund.org/apply/.

CAL supports combat wounded veterans with the support of donors like you. Please consider giving a donation at https://catchaliftfund.org/donate/.


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