Someone 2 Know: Boot Camp for Veterans - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Someone 2 Know: Boot Camp for Veterans

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"Left, right, left, right, left, right!" Sanddon Sherwood-Kopko shouts out orders to a group of men in his bi-weekly Boot Camp fitness class at Double Diamond Athletic Club in south Reno. "Keep it tighter, tighter, faster, faster. That'll give you better turnover!" he explains. While this group training concept is nothing new to most gyms around the country, this particular Boot Camp is different. Why? Well, because everyone in this class has actually been to Boot Camp. The class is strictly for veterans.

"I feel like it's an honor to be able to train these guys," Sanddon says. Gym Owner, Mike Shirley, says he realized the need for a class like this after meeting retired Marine Jesse Daunis. Jesse is training to walk across the entire state of Nevada to raise money for injured vets. Through his work with the Wounded Warrior Project, he learned there are many vets out there just like him – with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many of them have a hard time returning to public places, like gyms, after deployment. "With PTSD, there are a lot of things that can set them off - with loud noises, someone comes up behind them and says something, drops a weight."

The small group of veterans, from all military branches, works out in an isolated room at the gym. That allows them to focus more on their training than their surroundings. "You feel more comfortable with vets. They've been through the same situation I've been through. So you feel more at home, more at ease, more comfortable," explains Jesse.

Ray Freeman agrees. He retired from the U.S. Air Force after serving 20 years. He says this Boot Camp also boosts his confidence. Ray returned home from deployment with a major back injury. So, to be able to train again is not only strengthening his body, but his mind. "It shows me what I didn't think I could do in the past and it's really building me up." The men at the gym agree our veterans deserve at least that, "Because these guys have been out there fighting for us. It's the least we can do to support them and get them back in society."

On a side note, Jesse plans to take off on his Road March for Wounded Warriors April 1st. He will be walking from Reno to Vegas.  To support his efforts and goal to raise $10,000 for wounded northern Nevada veterans, you can attend a Spaghetti Feed fundraiser on Saturday, March 30th from 5-9 p.m. It is happening at the VFW - Post 92/11 located at 255 VFW Historic Lane, right behind the Moana Pool in Reno.

For more information, call Jesse at (775) 622-7248. To purchase tickets, call (775) 232-5121. You can also learn more about Jesse's fundraising mission by clicking on the following links.!/RoadMarchForWoundedWarriors

Written by Kristen Remington

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