YUMA, Ariz. – George Chmiel is going ‘Beast Mode for the Brave’ — a fundraising effort for the Guardian for Heroes Foundation. Chmiel is running 30,000 miles across the U.S. from San Diego to New York City. He started his journey on September 11 and hopes to raise one million dollars for the organization founded by American Sniper Chris Kyle—helping combat veterans navigate physical, mental, and emotional struggles through physical fitness.
“Our guys don’t stop fighting for us, and I’m not going to stop fighting for them,” stresses Chmiel. “I could take one tour to Afghanistan or Iraq and these guys go five, six, eight, or nine times. It’s insane. They’re away from their families and then they come back a different person. They don’t have the treatment they need and so maybe they have trouble connecting with their family again or they can’t find a job. All that stuff leads them to a very dark, depressing place and sometimes they feel like there’s no other way out and they take their own life. That to me is just unacceptable and we’re not doing enough. We need to do more.”
Daniel Metzdorf, a war veteran and a member of Yuma’s very own military community says that Yuma is the perfect place for Yuma to bring this awareness.
“Yuma’s the best place. Yuma is so patriotic,” states Metzdorf. “Yuma loves their military men and woman and they embrace it. They work with them and they’re a part of the community. There is not a better stop along the way than Yuma, Arizona.
Metzdorf has experienced struggle as an active solder and now as a veteran, but he was able to overcome these challenges by focusing on something that both he and Chmiel prioritize—support from the community.
“It took an amazing team of people,” Metzdorf shares about his personal journey. “It took a lot of love. It took a lot of caring people to say, ‘Hey, you don’t have to do this alone. You’re never going to be alone and we’re going to step up and help you reach your goal.'”
“I think it’s civilians and military coming together,” explains Chmiel. “If the run can be a platform for that conversation and to mobilize that effort, then it’s amazing. It’s been one of the most incredible things I’ve been a part of and we’re just getting going.”
You can cheer Chmiel on as he officially runs into Yuma on Thursday, September 15 at 6:30 a.m. at the B1 Elite Fitness gym (1335 S. Pacific Ave. #102).