Road trips are a rite of passage for some college students — spring break getaways, that bucket list concert, a final excursion before heading into the “real world.”
SUNY Cortland students Aidan Malinowski and Jordan Suarez took a road trip recently. But instead of beaches and bars, it was burpees and barbells as the tandem traveled across the country, working out in CrossFit® gyms in 48 states in less than a month, all to raise support and awareness for Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
“My Dad was a Marine, my grandfather served in Vietnam, my sister served in the Army, I have a cousin who was in Iraq … so it really hits close to home for me,” Jordan said. “That’s the reason we chose Wounded Warrior Project — because it’s so close to our hearts.”
The childhood friends began the trek in their hometown of Port Jefferson Station, New York, and for the next 28 days, coursed the country moving from one CrossFit gym to the next, averaging nearly two workouts and two states every day.
“People came up and said, ‘I lost my father in combat and this means everything to me,’” said Aidan, whose uncle served in Vietnam. “Those kinds of words were like music to my ears. It made everything worth it.”
No stop made more of an impact on them than Warrior Welke CrossFit in Raymond, Mississippi.
“We were able to talk with two Marine veterans. The CrossFit gym was dedicated to one of their best buddies, who passed away in combat,” Aidan said. “It changed both of our lives. We left there with a completely different outlook on our trip in general.”
It was an outlook they tried to pass on to everyone they met.
“If you don’t feel comfortable donating money, the best thing you can do is spread awareness,” Jordan said. “These men and women sacrifice their lives every day for our country; the least we can do is show them our support and thank them.”
Even if that means traveling thousands of miles in a car in less than a month.
“It wasn’t just about going to cool places and spreading a message; it was about truly changing lives,” Aidan said.
If you’d like to join Aidan and Jordan’s efforts in supporting injured veterans and their families, visit their page here.
Contact: Chris Obarski — Public Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 904.570.0823
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.