Catch A Lift Fund Is Transforming Wounded Veterans' Lives Through Fitness

Do you ever wonder how veterans cope with life once they come home from combat? After being trained to be on high-alert 24/7, what's it like for them to integrate back into everyday society? It raises the question: our military members protect us, but who protects them?


Over the years HooplaHa has done many stories on organizations that help veterans when they return home, but the personal origin story and mission of the Catch A Lift Fund is among the most moving we've ever covered.

The Catch A Lift Fund (CAL) was founded in 2010, with the sole purpose of helping post-9/11 combat wounded veterans all over the U.S. recover both physically and mentally. Uniquely, CAL's service to veterans centers on physical fitness: the program pays for gym memberships, in-home gym equipment, and personalized fitness, as well as nutrition plans and a peer-support network.

Catch A Lift vets are seeing and feeling results, including:

  • dramatic weight loss,
  • reduction in medications,
  • improved sleep patterns, and
  • strengthened relationships with family and friends.
To some people, working out the body might not seem equivalent to a therapy session focused on the mind, but CAL participants make clear how powerful its impact can be.
"For us, it's healing," says Sarah Rudder, Marine Corps Veteran, mother, and amputee. "They were able to provide me with the best therapy I've had in my life." To read more about Sarah Rudder, click here.

It was a veteran's life—and death—that inspired the creation of Catch A Lift and the CAL Fund. The founder is Lynn Coffland, whose brother, Army Cpl. Chris Coffland, lost his life in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in November 2009. In telling her brother's story, Lynn remembers that Chris believed strongly in mental and physical fitness—and that through it, anyone can reach their highest potential.

Thanks to Lynn, over the past 7 years CAL has helped more than 3,000 wounded veterans! And due to the program's success, demand has skyrocketed, and nearly 500 wounded veterans have joined the CAL waiting list. To serve these brave men and women, CAL needs to raise about $500,000 a year.

Fortunately, CAL has inspired enthusiastic support from a local and national community; in 2016, the Catch A Lift Fund raised a record $1 million! Subsequently, CAL was honored to ring the NYSE opening bell, received a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and — most importantly — was able to employ alumni of the program to train other veterans in need.

This year, HooplaHa had the privilege of standing with this amazing organization at the town of Westport, Connecticut's 3rd Annual Veterans Day Benefit event held at Birchwood Country Club, an annual fundraiser that has become an anchor and home for CAL. The CAL and its veterans have support from just about the entire town, as members of the Police Force, local businesses, and other community members come together, and it's truly amazing to see. We're so excited to share with you the incredible stories of perseverance... and all the incredible things that the Catch A Lift Fund is doing, in our new HooplaHa original video.

The Catch A Lift Fund is impacting many people's lives and has received major coverage... After an initial meeting with Lynn + CAL, Emmy award-winning filmmaker Alex Douglas fell in love with the foundation. He ending up donating his time and filmmaking skills and created a short documentary film for Catch a Lift that you can watch here.

Alex is also the Creator + Founder of Sculpting With Time and has had a life-long love affair with film, having been awarded the National Endowment for the Arts (one of the world's most prestigious arts organizations).

This HooplaHa original video was produced by Laurence Sheinman, shot by Johnny Perez, and edited by Kellie Sieban. For more inspiring stories, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our Only Good News Newsletter.

How To Make Matzah Ball Soup - Unwritten Recipes With Felicia

When families migrate, cookbooks don't always make the journey with them. But that doesn't mean that recipes are lost. In our original series Unwritten Recipes, mother, thespian and comfort food creator Felicia Levinson walks us step-by-step through delicious dishes that she whips up by memory. These recipes have been indelibly recorded in Felicia's mind by her grandmother, mother, and other family members. So, of course, every dish comes with a great story!

Keep reading... Show less
www.youtube.com

Joey Travolta's Film Summer Camp Teaches Young Adults With Special Needs About Film & Kindness

Inclusion Films, started by veteran filmmaker Joey Travolta (brother of actor John Travolta) in 2007, is a teaching studio for aspiring filmmakers with developmental disabilities.

Keep reading... Show less

This Nurse Cares For Patients And Serenades Their Souls

Jared Axen can be heard singing throughout the halls of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia, CA, thus dubbing him "The Singing Nurse." Full-time nurse and part-time musician, Jared has combined both of his talents to become a guiding light for patients and nurses everywhere.

Keep reading... Show less

Farm Becomes Sanctuary for Animals After Tragedy

The impetus for the creation of the Ima Survivor Animal Sanctuary was the awful week in August 2017 when Hurricane Harvey meandered about southeast Texas unleashing biblical amounts of rain and wreaking havoc on the people and animals who lived there. The survival of a donkey named Ima Jean from 6 foot flood waters, her struggle to live and the fight to survive by her and the other animals from Lester Morrow's ranch is the inspiration for this unique habitat.

Keep reading... Show less

Using Music and Art to Build Friendships on the Border

In a small, brightly decorated building only a stone's throw from the border wall between Mexico and the USA, 50 to 100 children a week come to do hands-on art projects, learn a musical instrument, or just socialize with others. In this special place, Director Gretchen Baer's mission is to show kids that anything is possible if you think creatively, no matter who you are or where you came from.

Nonprofit Studio Mariposa is a free transformative art center for kids in Naco, Mexico, along the Arizona border. For the past three years, kids come to the small studio once a week where Gretchen and her volunteers set up art projects and music lessons. The art projects include painting, making bracelets, mosaics and weaving on a loom.

Keep reading... Show less

All Autistic Wedding Spreads Love, Awareness & Hope

Dr. Stephen Shore is ordained to perform weddings. He is also on the autism spectrum. It was with special honor that he was asked to officiate at the wedding ceremony for Abraham Nielsen and Anita Lesko who are both also on the spectrum. For Dr. Shore, the event was important for the significance of "seeing that a couple with Autism can fall in love and get married just like everyone else".

Keep reading... Show less

Comedians Prove Laughter is the Best Medicine

This could be one of our favorite "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" stories…. literally.

Back in 1999, Saranne Rothberg, a New York City actor, received a cancer diagnosis and began a difficult regimen of therapy. Rather than being dragged down by sadness, Saranne tapped into the healing powers of humor. Once she began feeling better, she realized it could work for others, too, and the idea for Comedy Cures was born.

Keep reading... Show less

Everyday Heroes Deliver Delight - The Hero In You (S1:E1)

Welcome to The Hero In You – the all-new series from OnlyGood.tv that will inspire, touch your heart, and show you that you can be a Hero too! Hosted by Marysol Castro, The Hero In You highlights individuals and organizations that prove that with a little heart and soul, anything is possible. Sometimes a helping hand or a sympathetic ear are the only super powers you'll ever need.

Keep reading... Show less
Watch and Subscribe
It's a Positivity Movement
OnlyGood TV on YouTube

mailbox

Get your Only Good TV Newsletter