LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — When we come across a veteran we often say, “Thank you for your service.”
However, at Branded One Crossfit, veterans are being offered more than just a thank-you. They are offered a free gym membership.
Edward Haines served as a master sergeant in the Marine Corps for 20 years and tells 8 News Now finding his way back to civilian life wasn’t easy.
“The minute I walked through the door the welcoming and the atmosphere in here is what made me want to come back to this specific crossfit gym,” Haines said. “Keeping that community has been beneficial to some of my sanity, finding like-minded individuals in a place other than a bar.”
Crossfit is a form of high-intensity training. Haines says it reminds him of the brotherhood he felt trying to accomplish a goal with other marines when serving.
“Knowing that we are going to share some of that struggle again … because struggle brings a lot of camaraderie,” he added.
Along with equipment, the gym has soldier boots right at the entrance, and an American flag proudly hanging, adding to the welcome for those who serve.
“What we want to do is get them out of the house give them something that is productive, something that could maybe give them the confidence to go get a job if they are capable of doing that, or just getting out of their heads,” said Nick McCombs, president of Branded One Crossfit.
Studies show since 2001, about 114,000 vets have died by suicide. That’s a scary statistic, but Branded One is hoping to give servicemen and women another mission in life besides carrying the weight of the country.
“You legitimately feel good, so it does relieve stress. It helps you feel better and that carries on for several hours after you’re done,” Haines said.
Disabled or not, the gym has a spot waiting for any veteran.
“It’s not just about them. It’s about bringing in regular community members into the gym so that hopefully they can feel like they are part of the community,” McCombs adds.
In honor of Veterans Day, the gym will hold its biggest fundraising event with a workout challenge on Nov. 13. For more information about the Battle at Branded One workout challenge, click HERE.