On 10-year anniversary of Afghanistan tragedy, volunteers prep for 31 Heroes fundraiser

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Posted at 2:54 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 17:34:24-04

NORFOLK, Va. - August 6, 2021, marks 10 years since 31 U.S. military members were killed in Afghanistan. Those killed in the CH-47 Chinook helicopter, call sign Extortion 17, included 23 Navy SEALs.

Shortly after that, the 31 Heroes Foundation was established. The mission of 31 Heroes is to raise money and awareness through social and athletic events to support the families of Extortion 17 and honor their legacy by funding the treatment of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Workout of the Day event has been held every year on the first Saturday in August and happens simultaneously across the globe in a local gym or other locations.

Autumn and John Weiss own CrossFit 757. Along with some friends, they began the fundraiser in 2011, a few weeks after the tragedy.

“It's the one event each year that the whole Hampton Roads CrossFit community and even people who don't do CrossFit come together to support an amazing cause,” Autumn Weiss said.

David Holt has been participating in 31 Heroes Workout of the Day for several years. He’s an attorney with the Brain Injury Law Center, so he’s passionate about the cause.

“We deal with clients all across the country dealing with those exact disorders, and so it's near and dear to our firm's heart,” stated Holt. "We feel it's important for us to give back to the community, the military community, and we know what it's like to suffer through PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.”

Holt said his wife got him into CrossFit and that he enjoys the challenge.

“It's a special community, and when you go out there and you see people working really hard, sweating really hard and kind of suffering through the workout, you realize what a great community it really is,” added Holt.

As of Friday afternoon, there are still limited openings for participants to sign up for the Workout of the Day being held Saturday. The cost is $31.

The workout involves a 400-meter run with a sandbag, eight barbell thrusters, six rope climbs and 11 box jumps with a teammate. Weiss said the workout can be modified.

31 Heroes Executive Director Jill Arnone invites the public to come out and watch. She added there will be a petting farm, and at 3 p.m., a live band. It all starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, August 7 at New Realm Brewing, located at 1209 Craft Lane in Virginia Beach. There will also be a free kids’ workout from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

For more information on 31 Heroes, click here.