Walking through the front doors of CrossFit Mesa in Arizona, one theme becomes very apparent with this gym… Patriotism.
Amongst the smell of sweat and the sounds of barbells being dropped on the ground; a giant US flag overlooks the gym, surrounded by other flags representing each and every branch of the military.
CrossFit Mesa owners Craig Shumway and AJ Richards, who also happen to be employees of Bulwark Exterminating, have added a patriotic memorial in the front of their gym. A Legacy Desk adorns the gym’s entryway; paying tribute to so many that have lost their lives serving our Country.
The Crossfit Mesa family has found an incredible and humbling way to pay tribute to all those heroes who have so nobly and honorably paid the ultimate sacrifice; losing their lives in Operation Enduring Freedom.
A Legacy Desk has been unveiled inside the CrossFit Mesa gym; with steel caging holding some 6,954 rocks. Each rock has a name written on it; all the names of each soldier, marine, airman, sailor and American warrior killed in action during Operation Enduring Freedom. The rocks have been carefully placed inside the desk framing for all to see.
Additional rocks have been added to remember some of our brothers and sisters who have chosen to end their life early due to the invisible wounds of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
May their memories and sacrifice live on as legends of our time.
Included in the Legacy Desk’s almost 7000 symbolic rocks, is a rock for Pat Tillman. Tillman was an Army ranger who left a lucrative professional football career to serve his Country in Iraq and Afghanistan. As an Arizona State alum and football player, as well as an Arizona Cardinals football player, Tillman is held in extremely high regard in the state of Arizona especially. Tillman lost his life while serving his country. His rock is very visible at the front of the desk upon viewing.
The Legacy Desk is the brain-child of CrossFit Mesa co-owner AJ Richards, who served a couple tours ofIraqhimself; losing fellow brothers and sisters in arms in which he knew personally. The desk itself is built by CrossFit Mesa member Dustin Bradford, who put many hours of labor into it making it.
The Legacy Desk was unveiled on Memorial Day 2015, with over 100 CrossFit members along with their friends and family people on-hand to see it up close. Following the desk’s introduction, all those in attendance participated in the Murph Hero WOD, which entails 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, and 300 squats sandwiched between two one mile runs. The workout is done every year in memory of veterans who have given their life.
While CrossFit Mesa’s Legacy Desk solemnly and symbolically expresses all the lives lost in battle during Operation Enduring Freedom, it also symbolically expresses some of our brothers and sisters who have chosen to end their life early due to the invisible wounds of PTSD; as over 50 rocks have been added by members of the gym by those who have lost loved ones due to the affects of PTSD.
CrossFit Mesa founder AJ Richards has been very candid about his struggles with PTSD; as a nIraq war Veteran encountering a Tannerite bomb. AJ works to raise public awareness about the impacts of PTSD.
According to the 2012 Suicide Data Report, the VA estimates that 22 veterans a day have committed suicide from 1999 to 2011. This is a deeply troubling statistic and has galvanized a veteran movement to raise public awareness about PTSD.
CrossFit Mesa is currently adding more names and rocks to the Legacy Desks through social media submissions. If you are interested in adding a rock to the Legacy Desk in honor of someone you love, Tweet them at @CrossFitMesa or visit their Facebook page.
All of us here at Bulwark Exterminating believe that this Legacy Desk memorial has given authentic meaning to all the men and women which paid the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.
We are truly indebted to all those service men and women who have put their lives on the line to help protect our freedom, liberties, and these United States.
We live in the greatest country in the world; the land of the free because of the brave. Only real heroes can do what you do.
To all those who serve our country, THANK YOU for your unselfish efforts! We salute you!
May all who are connected to the names on the desk’s rocks have peace.
If you’d like to see the Legacy Desk memorial for yourself, visit CrossFit Mesa:
5950 E Brown Rd
Mesa, AZ 85205