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CrossFit Academy Honors 31 Heroes

Money raised from the Saturday workout event will help families of fallen servicemen.

Members of TEAM subjected themselves to a workout to remember Saturday as they lifted weights, climbed ropes and carried sandbags all to honor the lives of 30 Americans, including 22 Navy SEALs, the most elite warriors in the U.S. Military.

The 31 Heroes Tribute Workout paid homage to the soldiers and one service dog who lost their lives when killed in action in Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011.

“31 Heroes is pretty consistent with CrossFit’s desire to celebrate the accomplishments and lives of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Coach Eric LeClair, TEAM CrossFit Academy affiliate owner. “Myself, most of our staff and a lot of our clients are active or former military, so it just made sense. We wanted to get involved and lead the way.”

More than 300 CrossFit Academy affiliates across the nation participated in the 31 Heroes event. Monrovia resident Andrea Olivas approached LeClair about holding the workout at his academy, since she personally knew several of the servicemen who were killed.

“My brother is a Navy SEAL and he was very good friends with a lot of the guys who were lost,” Olivas said. “They’re very dear to my heart, so I just figured I needed a way to honor these guys and try to support the families as best I could.”

Each participant paid $31 to register for the event and all proceeds and donations will be forwarded to the Navy SEAL Foundation.

“The money will be used to cover funeral costs, travel expenses for family members to go to those funerals and even scholarships for the soldiers’ children,” Olivas said. “This is a wonderful way to support our warriors and their families.”

The 30 Americans were killed when Afghan insurgents shot down a Chinook helicopter carrying a quick-reaction force, including 22 Navy SEALs, most of whom belonged to Team Six, the unit whose members were involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

“With my military background, I’ve lost a lot of people overseas, but I can only imagine what it feels like for the wives, mothers, fathers and particularly the kids when dad doesn’t come home,” LeClair said. “Doing this workout today and giving 110 percent like we always do with CrossFit workouts is giving our members the chance to feel what it feels like to hurt.”

CrossFit Academy member Chris Curry served eight years in the U.S. Army, so he knows what it’s like to lose a fellow soldier.

“The loss of all those Navy SEALs in a single day is such a huge blow--not just to their families and friends, but to our nation’s security,” Curry said. “This is just a small token of appreciation for what they’ve sacrificed and I hope that we make some small impact on their families. That’s why I’m here.”

Before the workout began, Olivas thanked the participants for honoring the memories of the men she considers family.

“I know that you guys being here today is a great honor to them. They are watching us from above, so if you don’t think you can do this workout, just think of them and you can do it.” she said.

Those who missed the workout can still donate to the Navy SEALs Foundation by visiting www.navySEALfoundation.org or mailing a check made out to "Navy SEAL Foundation" to Beacon Media, 125 E. Chestnut Ave., Monrovia, CA 91016.

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