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31 Heroes Project: Remembering the fallen Saturday in Norfolk

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Posted at 9:09 PM, Aug 03, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-03 21:09:47-04

For Jessica Fernandez, August 6th is hard to forget. She was deployed, working for Navy intelligence in Afghanistan when she heard about the Chinook helicopter crash 30 miles away from her tiny base.

“It was pretty devastating, almost surreal to know that many people were on the aircraft when it went down,” said Fernandez.

She was so close, yet couldn't help. Now home in America, she gets to give back as one of thousands around the country participating in the 2nd Annual 31 Heroes "Workout to Remember."

The CrossFit-based event is the main fundraiser for the 31 Heroes Project, started by Hampton Roads locals like Amanda Justus.

“A few of us just got together and wanted to do something to honor those guys and their lives, support their families, and show their families that we stand behind them. We all are CrossFitters, and this is how we knew how to do it,” said Justus.

The workout is 31 minutes long, one minute for each of the heroes.

As many rounds as possible of 8 thrusters, 6 rope climbs, and 11 box jumps--the number of repetitions matches the date of the crash.

But that’s not all--31 Heroes is a partner workout, so when one person is doing all those movements, the other is running with a sandbag for a quarter of a mile.

“We are trying to symbolize one partner going to rescue another,” said Justus.

“When you get to that point of exhaustion, you get to that point of wanting to stop, you think of all those families who are feeling that pain of never being able to say ‘Hi’ or ‘I love you’ to those men,” said Fernandez.

That is where all the money raised on Saturday goes--to organizations dedicated to helping those who lost their loved ones in combat.

“Our mission is to really keep those families knowing that we continue to remember, that we will never forget, and we will always remember the sacrifice,” said Justus.

Most of the men on that helicopter were local Hampton Roads residents, so it’s important everyone comes out and joins the effort to remember them. Even if you've never done CrossFit, even if you don’t know any of the moves, you can still come to be a part of this important day to remember those 31 Heroes.

Click here to give to 31 HEROES “Workout to Remember” Main Event

Waterside in Downtown Norfolk

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

8:30 AM until 5:00 PM

Open to the Public