Big Four CrossFit hosts Travis Manion Foundation event


By Kimberly Pistone
[email protected]

SIDNEY – Big Four CrossFit gym joins nearly 150 other gyms across the country for the annual Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) Workout of the Day (WOD) fundraising event on April 30. Last year they had the second highest participation in the country.

The TMF is an organization dedicated to empowering veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations. They give back to veterans and support Gold Star families. Everything TMF does is based on the idea of “If not me, then who?” This powerful statement was what 1st Lt. Travis Manion told his family before he deployed for his final, fatal mission, and the man for whom the foundation is named.

Manion was a Marine killed in action in Iraq. On April 29, 2007, Manion was fatally wounded as he drew enemy fire away from the other members of his patrol. TMF was established to benefit Gold Star families and veterans as they return to civilian life. TMF’s mission is to “develop programs, training opportunities, and events designed to empower veterans and families of the fallen, and then inspire them to pass on their values to the next generation and the community at large.”

The WOD fundraiser includes a 400-meter run and 29 air squats done in seven rounds. This workout is symbolic of the date Manion was killed in action — April 29, 2007. CrossFit boxes and gyms across the country host the WOD, bringing the community together to honor the fallen heroes.

Rob Vanmetre — who has been a member of Big Four CrossFit since 2019 — first learned about Manion while listening to Jocko Willink’s podcast. Vanmetre said, “I know when I hear something that brings me to emotion, it means something. I started reading more about Travis and his life. What he meant to his fellow Marines was really special.”

After learning more about Manion and seeing the WOD opportunity, he brought the event to the attention of the Big Four CrossFit owners. They liked the idea and enthusiastically got behind the event. Lauren Judy, gym manager, said, “TMF has all the qualities that CrossFit supports. Anyone in the CrossFit community knows we are big supporters for veterans and first responders. So when Rob brought this to our attention, we were glued to it.”

TMF does far more than the annual WOD fundraiser. Their programs include Character Does Matter – a mentorship project between veterans and youth; The Spartan Leadership Program – focusing on personal growth among veterans and survivors; and Expeditions – service opportunities lasting five to seven days in a community where there is need.

This event will take place at Big Four CrossFit at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 30. Big Four CrossFit is located at 102 Wall St. in Sidney. Doors will open at 9 a.m.

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