COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Nearly 200 sweaty individuals got together at a car dealership in Columbus on Saturday morning, Aug. 2, not to buy cars, but to work out for a cause.
Headquarter Nissan on Whittlesey Blvd. held their third annual Warrior WOD, Workout with a Warrior, at 9 a.m.
Participants included civilians and about 60 soldiers from the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division of Fort Benning. They all completed various CrossFit exercises to raise money for a non-profit organization called Friends of Sledgehammer.
"Our goal is to raise $5,000." said Terry Bell, the general manager of Headquarter Nissan. "Headquarter Nissan and CrossFit Sacrifice teamed up with Friends of Sledgehammer to help them raise money to fix and update their memorial."
MAJ Chris Maglicmot, president of Friends of Sledgehammer, said, "The memorial has a list of names of our heroes who were killed in action while fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are trying to enhance the memorial at Fort Benning, and give a place where people can come to reflect and honor those who lost their lives."
"We are in the Fort Benning area, and about 40 percent of our businesses is with military," Bell said. "We just wanted to say thank you."
SFC Joseph Kapacziewski, an Army Ranger, worked out with his wife, Kimberly, at the event. Kapacziewski with the 75th Ranger Regiment said this was a great way to spend his Saturday morning.
"Today's event absolutely exceeded my expectation," Kapacziewski said. "I've been stationed in Fort Benning for almost 13 years with the 75th Ranger Regiment, and 3rd Infantry Division has always been on Fort Benning. We don't have lot of interactions with them, but we used to deploy together. There has been a lot of sacrifices from the men in 3rd Infantry Division, so I wanted to come out and support raising some funds for their memorial."
Kapacziewski said CrossFit is not easy, but this isn't the toughest thing he's ever done. It's nothing compared to overcoming doubts and adjusting to new changes that he faced in 2005.
"In 2005, I was injured by an enemy grenade in Iraq," Kapacziewski recalled. "In March of 2007, the doctors had to amputate it. They fit me with prosthetic leg, and I was going through rehab and therapy. I wanted to go back to being a Ranger squad leader and go into battles again."
He jumped out of airplanes, roped down from helicopters and pushed himself to resume his duties as a Ranger squad leader and ultimately as a Ranger platoon sergeant.
"I have to put in more time and effort to be physically fit," Kapacziewski said. "It's not easy, but I have to be fit so I can lead rangers into battles."
Kapacziewski said he likes attending events like Workout with a Warrior, because it sends out positive and supportive messages to our soldiers at Fort Benning.
"A lot of the guys, especially the ones in the military become amputees," Kapacziewski said. "It's not unheard of. Some people can lose themselves in despair. We don't know why we are dealt with the cards that we have, but we need to maintain a positive attitude about it. We need to maintain a positive support structure around us. My leg is not growing back. But I'm going to make the best out of it. Not for myself, but for my family. Ultimately for the service of my country."
Kapacziewski's wife Kimberly said, "My husband and I have a sink or swim mentality when it comes to life. It's a choice you have to make. You have to choose, and decide to be positive. Once you've made that decision, that's half the battle. You're ready to take on anything. I don't think any of us are given more than we can handle. It's just how you choose to handle it."