BENEFITING: The 31Heroes Project
EVENT DATE: Aug 03, 2013
About two years ago, on August 6th, 2011, a helicopter carrying 30 American servicemen and one service dog, including 22 Navy SEALs, was shot down in Afghanistan. Every person on board, including someone whom I knew, respected, and liked to call my friend, was killed in the crash. His name is Jonas Kelsall. I attended grad school with his wife and had the pleasure of sitting down to have a beer with him on several occasions. I was only able to hang with Jonas a handful of times, but there are few people I’ve met in my life who I’ve found more friendly, loyal, or honorable. He was proud of what he did for us, and I count myself small next to him and the other 30 who lost their lives that day.
Fast forward to the present day. I’ve recently gotten myself involved in an amazing, psychotic, sometimes vomit-inducing workout program called CrossFit. I’m part of a gym called CrossFit Purpose, headed by Coach Brian Thomason. Brian’s been great in getting me and the rest of his members motivated to beat the crap out of ourselves every day we show up. It’s an outstanding, supportive community that I’m thrilled to be a part of (except when the workout is Angie, because for real, screw Angie).
So, how are these two issues related? Well, there is a foundation called 31 Heroes that was borne out of the tragedy in 2011. 31 Heroes raises funds for multiple charitable organizations that provide money and resources to the families of those killed in action. Specifically, the money raised by 31 Heroes goes to The Snowball Express, the Travis Manion Foundation Challenge Grants program, and the memorial funds for each of the men that were killed.
The Snowball Express organizes all-expense-paid gatherings for military kids who have lost a parent in military action. At these gatherings, the kids are treated like royalty and given a chance to build relationships with kids just like them. The Manion Foundation provides grants to the family members of those servicemen killed in action to complete a memorial project of their choice. Both are very cool organizations that are worth tossing a few bucks at.
“But Kurt,” you might ask, “how does 31 Heroes raise money?” Glad you asked. The 31 Heroes Foundation sponsors a workout that is performed at CrossFit gyms on or near the anniversary of the August 6th crash. This WOD (Workout of the Day) is essentially 31 minutes of hell for those performing it. You can go here to see the punishment it involves. That said, those that participate in the “31 Heroes WOD” collect donations from their lovely, good-looking, generous, amazing, good-looking, caring, wonderful friends. Did I say good-looking?
This is where you come in. After taking my idea of performing the 31 Heroes WOD to Brian at my Crossfit gym, I’m thrilled to announce that he was happy to get Crossfit Purpose involved. So, given this exciting development, I’m soliciting donations for my “31 Heroes WOD” to be done on August 3rd. I plan on beating the crap out of myself for 31 minutes to raise money for 31 Heroes, a foundation that is extremely important to me and to many people that I care about.
I’m a realist. I understand that you all work very hard for your money and aren’t quick to part with it. I get it. Times are tough. That is why I plan to offer something in return for those of you that donate. It’s an idea I got from a blogger who did something very similar and raised a ton of money for another military foundation.
My offer to you, dear friend, is very public humiliation. I plan to publicly embarrass myself for your entertainment and offer a slick reward to the truly generous. Here’s what I propose: six levels of humiliation.
Level 1: If I raise $150, I’ll videotape my doing the WOD and post it to Facebook. Want to see me potentially pass out? Puke in a bucket? Turn colors that no human should turn? This is the amount that will get us there. At each level higher than this, I’ll still videotape the WOD. If you think that this isn’t embarrassing enough, you haven’t seen me try to climb a rope with no energy left.
Level 2: If I raise $300, I’ll wear these flattering cutoff jean shorts during the WOD. I can only hope they effectively conceal my thunder (that’s an Arrested Development joke).
Level 3: If I raise $500, I’ll wear a cutoff pink tank top during the WOD, even though I don’t think I quite have the boobs for it. Imagine this, except cut off about half way up.
Level 4: If I raise $1000, we get rid of the Daisy Dukes and cutoff tank top and replace it with an animal print unitard. It’ll be either zebra- or cheetah-print. I can’t decide. Either way, rawr.
Level 5: If somehow, I manage to raise $2000, I will give myself a haircut for the WOD in the style of your choosing. Z in the back of my head? Bowl cut? Shave the top and leave the sides? Mullet? The sky’s the limit. If I get this far by some miracle, I’ll set up a poll for voting.
In all seriousness, 31 Heroes is an outstanding foundation, and one that is very near and dear to my heart. Two years ago, Jonas and his comrades fell while trying to protect others. I have the freedom of a cushy life that allows me to teach, go hiking, swim in the Pacific, and enjoy Belgian brown ales, largely because of Jones and people just like him. If I can embarrass myself for a little over a half hour to provide some sort of relief to their families and the families of others who have fallen in the line of duty, it’s a small price to pay. So, even if you only throw a few bucks my way, I’d be insanely grateful.
And I should probably warn you, if you don’t throw any money my way, I will show up at your door wearing those cut-off shorts and pink tank top while your parents are visiting you. Try me.