As a former marine, Vernon Garard recognizes the connection between perspiration and purpose.
Currently employed as an Indianapolis firefighter, Garard also owns and operates IXF CrossFit, a personal training facility in downtown Greenwood.
On Saturday, IXF CrossFit will host the second annual Warrior’s Hope fundraising fitness event, which merges Garard’s interest in both physical fitness and taking care of men and women who serve in the armed forces.
Proceeds go to Warrior’s Hope Inc. in Greenwood.
Founded in 2005 by ex-Marine Loren Minnix, Warrior’s Hope assists veterans and active duty personnel in finding ways to deal with disturbing combat-related memories and other problems after returning to a civilian environment.
“We just connected one day,” said Minnix, whose military service extended from 1961-65. “(Garard) said, ‘How would you like it if we had a fundraiser for you?’, and I said it would be wonderful.
“It’s an honor that they’ve raised funds for us.”
Last year’s inaugural event raised close to $800. Garard hopes to exceed that amount this weekend.
“No. 1, I’m a veteran, and I hold veterans very near to my heart,” said Garard, a veteran of Desert Storm who performed active duty from 1990 to 1994. “Not only am I a veteran, I have a cousin who was in Vietnam who still struggles with issues. After you come back from a deployment, I don’t think we understand what these men and women are dealing with. We take it for granted.
“The barrier we need to break down is that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. I think we’re slowly starting to tear those walls down.”
The CrossFit program is geared to help clients achieve a desired fitness level by focusing on constantly varied movements performed at high intensity.
Saturday’s event is structured so that CrossFit experts and novices alike can partake in some manner.
There will be a workout for kids and beginners designed to expose people to this method of training. Categories of competition are from 16- to 39-years old for both male and female as well as masters divisions for men and women 40 and older.
“We have people competing from all CrossFit gyms,” said Dan Falk, a 1994 Whiteland Community High School graduate and Greenwood resident who in the past 10 months has used CrossFit to go from 250 pounds to his current 200. “I’m 37. I compete against 20-year-olds.
“Really, for me and other CrossFit athletes, the hardest part is the mental aspect.”
Falk served in the Army from 1995 to 1999, followed by another four years in the National Guard. He, too, has family members who struggled when their tours of duty were complete.
“This does hit home. People like my dad and my wife’s grandfather who served in Vietnam came back with post traumatic stress syndrome,” Falk said. “Luckily, when I went into the Army it was after the first Gulf War. But I do know people who have had a hard time assimilating back into society.”