Gulfport Crossfit hosts fundraiser for war veterans

GULFPORT, MS (AP) - Crossfit brings them together, but it's a special fundraiser that has these gym rats smiling through the workout pain. The Paws Project is a charity that raises money so war veterans can get dogs to help them through post-traumatic stress disorder.

Gulfport Crossfit Owner, Patrick Burgess, is a war veteran who found out about the program through a fellow veteran.

"The dogs could be for a veteran who just needed a friend, who needed some companionship. It could be maybe an amputee who needed physical help," said Burgess.

As a war veteran himself, Burgess says the cause hits close to home. With two gym members deploying to Afghanistan tomorrow, they had even more reason to host the event.

Both Anna Lee and Eric Ruiz are faithful members of the gym who are getting deployed on Sunday, but still found time to support the fundraiser.

"It's always a good cause to come out and show support to fellow gyms as well. It's great to see Ocean Springs out here and bandit here at Gulfport Crossfit," said Ruiz.

Eight years in the military and two deployments later, Burgess is still finding ways to honor his fellow veterans.

"I served eight years in the Marine Corps and even when you get out you still want to come back and do something and be part of it, so this is my way of getting back into it and continuing to give," said Burgess.

Burgess and his wife decided to make a full day of the event with grilled food, drawings and they even had children decorate boxes for the Slidell Ladies for Liberty who send goods to troops overseas.

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