Lexington, SC (Misty Jones) - The 1st Annual Lexington Brew Ruck was held last Saturday April 28th, 2018. Founded by Chris Cooper, aka Halfsack, and Melanie Phillips, aka Bluegrass, the event was hosted and sponsored by NAZ Ruckers, a division of FIA. F3 and FIA combined forces to create the fun event to raise money and awareness for Operation Enduring Warriors or OEW, a very worthy cause. Both F3 and FIA are faith-based groups that are focused on fitness and fellowship. They meet weekly at various areas in the community at 5 a.m. for a peer led, boot camp style workout. Everyone is given a nickname; the author of this story, Misty Jones, is called “Captain” by her friends and fellow members.
Chris Cooper, one of the founders of The Brew Ruck, came up with the idea for the event after joking with fellow F3 members that something like this might be a fun and exciting way to spend time together and do something for a good cause. Bar Crawl, Tardy, Ponzi, and Halfsack all decided it would be fun to have a Brew Ruck Event, much like a Go Ruck, that’s based on military training. In these, you load up a backpack with weights depending on your own physical ability, and then walk or run the perfect number of miles, smiles, brews, and a few hills to make it awesome! The cost to participate on Saturday was just $10 per Rucker, a small fee for all the fun they were reported to have had.
Saturday’s course covered a 7 to 8-mile path. The first stop was O'Haras Irish Pub on Main St. in Lexington. This was O'Hara’s grand opening weekend and they generously donated all proceeds from the group’s sales to Operation Enduring Warriors. 52 Ruckers in total, all thirsty, had a great time before moving on to the next stop! Before finishing, the group hit Carolina Wings and Buffalo Wild Wings for more cold brews, food, and fun. Buffalo Wild Wings got in on the charity by donating 10% of the group’s sales to the cause. Later, the bunch made more stops at the Keg Cowboy, Kingsman Que and Brew, and the last and final stop was the Old Mill Brew Pub where prizes, gifts, and a drawing were held for the prizes from the raffle tickets. Each participant received a patch, and raffle items included American flags, a SC State flag which flew over the State House, gift certificates from local restaurants, hats,patches, knotted cords, key chains, 1/2 price off a new rucksack, free entry into the Governor’s Cup Race, and many more items.
All along the route, the army of Ruckers were greeted with cheers and honks from passing traffic in support of their cause,Operation Enduring Warriors. Kelly Farmer, who is vice president of communications for OEW, her husband Jeff who is program manager, and Ricky Jacob, vice president of all things logistical, took some time to explain OEW and its programs.
According to the trio, the program is a veteran funded, nonprofit 501-C, activity related program dedicated to the OEW mission. Their Mission is to HONOR, MOTIVATE, and EMPOWER our nation’s American wounded warriors through emotional, mental, and physical rehabilitative programs. The program helps participants overcome adversity and hardships through innovative teamwork and perseverance enabling the lives of wounded veterans to go in directions they may have once thought impossible. Operation Enduring Warriors is a 100% volunteer run organization. All donations go directly toward operational support of the organization and programs.
Some of the things they are doing for our veterans are athletic events that offer wounded vets opportunities to physically challenge themselves by overcoming what may seem like the impossible. These activities include exciting activities like skydiving, scuba diving, climbing Mt. Rainier, hiking the Grand Canyon, Spartan races, hand cycling, bicycling, and many other options. There are even public speaking courses, and several veterans were able to attend the Bataan Memorial Death March to commemorate that horrific but historically significant event.
At Operation Enduring Warrior, their goal is to give a HAND UP, not a HANDOUT. They also help veterans understand injuries don’t define who they are and what they can do. Family members are also supported. If a veteran chooses to include a spouse or child, the OEW makes it happen.
Saturday during the Brew Ruck, a fun time was had by all. Participants said some great memories were made and best of all, over $1,200 was raised to support our wounded veterans. To learn more about Operation Enduring Warrior, go to their website at www.enduringwarrior.org.