We must always remember September 11, 2001. That date altered the lives for thousands of Americans, directly and indirectly. The total casualties from the devastation of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93 by terrorists is numbered at 2,977. The total cost of military members lost since that day have numbered in the thousands as well, and still continues to grow. Our son, Jared Landaker, was one of those casualties. Jared was not killed by terrorists on 911, he was killed by terrorists on 2-7-2007 when they shot his helicopter down in Iraq.
It is difficult for most people to recall a tragic event, for it is painful and offers a sense of helplessness. However, if we fail to remember the victims of Sept. 11, 2001, we will do an injustice to these courageous Americans who left this world trying to rescue and save the lives of their fellow Americans. As years pass, our memory declines about the impact the terrorists attacks had on our lives. Unfortunately, for those families who lost loved ones as a result of these attacks, their memory is frozen in time. So, if we are to honor those that are lost, we must take the time to remember them and to be proud that we have Americans who chose to stand up against terrorists, even at the cost of their own lives, each and every day.
Remembrance is a method in which we can acknowledge these brave men and women who became heroes to their wives, husbands, children, parents, and all Americans that day. Jared was our family’s hero, not because of how he died, but because of how he lived. He loved his country and believed it was worth laying down his life while defending it.
Jared would not have called himself a hero, he would have said he was just doing what Americans do: helping those who can’t help themselves. He did not believe being an American should be taken for granted, for it is a privilege you should work for each and every day.
Do you remember the determination we all felt to demonstrate our patronage and unity after the attack on our country? Flags were flying tall from buildings, in front of homes, and waving from vehicles in tribute for those who lost their lives or were injured. We need to uphold that same perseverance whether we see planes crashing into buildings, First Responders running into bellowing smoke and flames, or a fallen military member’s number being scrolled across our TV. It should not take an attack on our country before we are reminded to express our gratitude to our First Responders, our military members, or those who have given the ultimate sacrifice fighting for its freedom.
In the course of our demanding and hectic lives, we sometimes feel we don’t always have the time to reflect on these fallen Americans from the terrorist attacks, but in reality, they are the ones who do not have the time. We must remember, there are Americans who are in harm’s way each and every day protecting our country and our way of life. So please take the time to express your gratitude to a Fireman, a Policeman, a military member, or other fellow citizens who are dedicated to making this a protected and secure country.
Highlight video of the WOD 4 JROD event
18 participants together completed: – 157,356 repetitions – 63,000 meters rowed – 104,400 meters ran – 1,671,780 total pounds moved.
All of this in a matter of 24 hours. Although, this work is a tremendous feat in such a short amount of time it does not hold a candle to what Jared Landaker (JROD) and the other 6 heroes did. They paid the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives while protecting our freedom.
About 3-4 months ago I was invited by CrossFit HQ to host a charity event that virtually the entire community was getting involved with. I’m all for a good cause, but I feel that the when CrossFit HQ gets the community hyped about a charity event that almost instantaneously it is successful. For instance, last weekend CrossFit HQ raised over $130,000 for the families of the “Hotshots 19”. This is all good stuff, right? Yes. However, I had an idea that we could still host a charity event, still help raise money, all for a good cause, but to do it for something that it would make a larger impact for. This is when I recall our members, Brandon Becerra, Calvin Becerra, and, Nate Chabolla being college friends with a true American hero. So, I asked Brandon after his workout one day about his old friend, Jared Landaker. I asked him if Jared had a foundation and if it was possible for us to help the foundation out in any way.
From that day forward, Brandon, my wife and I worked closely together to create the inaugural WOD 4 JROD event. This was the first of an annual in house charity event that CrossFit CrownTown would host to benefit JROD and The Seven Stars Foundation. Thank you for your help Brandon Becerra and Bri Willette!
It worked! We raised $3,112.20. Along the way another gym from New York, CrossFit Hells Kitchen, got wind of our event. It turns out that one of JROD’s other college friends follows our site, since she knows her friends are members of CrownTown. She saw our original post and then approached the owner of her affiliate with the idea of doing the same thing we were. He was all for it. Fortunately, they were able to raise an additional $2,000 for The Seven Stars Foundation. In totality, we raised over $5,000 for The Seven Stars Foundation. I later received an email from Laurie Landaker (JROD’s mother) expressing her gratitude and also letting me know that with all the money raised they are going to be able to send 12 military children to summer camp in 2014.
18 brave participants just before the first workout at 6am on Saturday morning.
It was a long, emotional and mentally challenging day to say the least. Dehydration, cramping, nausea, sweating, bleeding, tears, you name it, we experienced it. We started at 6am on Saturday morning with a classic CrossFit workout, “Fran”. After that, every hour on the hour we started a new workout and repeated that for 24 hours straight.
This was right before the 23rd workout.
We thought it was a good idea to get a little nap in before the last two. Turns out we were wrong. Way wrong. Getting our bodies to wake up, warm up and perform again for two more challenging workouts was by far the most difficult moment of the day. It literally took us ten minutes to get our legs to jump off the ground. Not to mention we had to do 150 double unders right after.
Minutes before the hero workout “WOD 4 JROD”
Shortly before the 7th hour, which we would start the seventh workout in honor of The Seven Stars Foundation, which was part of the 24 workouts on August 24th, JROD’s father who is a member of the board for the foundation, stopped by to show his gratitude. He led a candle lighting ceremony where he would say the name of each of the seven heroes and give their ranking followed by lighting a candle that represented that particular hero. After he lit the seventh candle, which represented his son JROD, he said that from the bottom of his heart words could not express how thankful he was for us to be honoring his son and the other heroes like we were. He thanked us several times again. We all applauded him with our watery eyes, feeling the chills as at that exact moment I realized it had all come to fruition. What was an idea a few months ago, we now had a real life American hero’s father there thanking us for our contribution and about to watch us in the most grueling workout of the 24 hours. The National Anthem played and then we started “WOD 4 JROD”.
Last but not least, on behalf of all the participants, CrossFit CrownTown and myself, we wanted to thank all of our sponsors. Oh My Bar, Kill Cliff, Jersey Mike’s (Norco location), Aqua Hydrate, C2O, JC Knight Demolition, JRM Engineering & Design, Stronger Faster Healthier, Jamie Morabito and CrossFit CrownTown. Also, thank you very much to all of the community members/family/friends who donated food, drinks, support, help cleaning up, stopped by several times throughout the day and night. Even some at 3am and stayed to watch us finish. You guys know who you are. We all appreciate you very much! Until next year, stay fit!
Thank You Corona’s Crowntown Cross Fit participants who did the 24 hour WOD for the Seven Stars Foundation and 1st. Lt. Jared M. Landaker, USMC. They raised a total of $3112.20, that is enough to send 7, love that number, sponsored military children to Camp Whittle next summer. Between Corona’s and New York’s Hell’s Kitchen’s gyms, 12 military children are going next summer. You all are so wonderful and thank you again from the bottom of our hearts.
On Sat. August 24th, the Seven Stars Foundation, Inc. attended two events that raised funds for the children we sponsor to Camp Whittle. Clay Hodson and I attended our booth at the Big Bear City Airshow while Joe headed to Corona for the Crowntown Crossfit event where some special people pushed themselves physically for 24 hours to raise money for our Foundation. Less than 1% of the US population serve in the military and have the responsibility of providing the freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis. They leave their families for years at a time, missing out on the day to day interactions with their children, or sometimes even the birth of them. Some do not return and some come home less than when they left.
While at the airshow a lady came up to Clay and I and stated she hadn’t a clue the devastation that is experienced by the loss of a father or mother until it is experienced directly. The children are left with such a void from that parent. They are not there for birthdays, holidays, bedtime, first day of school, baseball and soccer games, family vacations, and all the other joys and memories that are associated with raising children. Yesterday only affirmed that our Foundation needs to continue sponsoring these military children. Jared’s legacy has brought together people who are willing to give their time and support in his name. I am so amazed and humbled by the goodness of these people and how they want to make a difference in a child’s life. Thank you to Crosstown Crossfit group and all those who donate to our Foundation.