Saturday, April 21, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 7

Santa Maria Sun / Sports Lead

The following article was posted on August 28th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 25 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 25

The Benchwarmer: Central Coast CrossFit holds fundraiser for fallen firefighers

Honor our heroes' sacrifices



When someone says “hero,” I often think of a burly man in a blue suit and red cape, or Clay Matthews in his Green Bay jersey. In a world of Hulks, Thors, and Iron Mans, it’s easy to forget that our greatest heroes don’t always come with a cape.

On June 30 of this year, Americans were tragically introduced to 19 new heroes: fire-fighting’s most elite who laid down their lives in a monstrous blaze in Yarnell, Ariz. Armed with only fire suits and unparalleled courage, these 19 Granite Mountain Hot Shots reminded us that the most important heroes are often friends, family, or neighbors.

What made the tragedy even more unbearable was the fact that the Central Coast lost one of its own that day: Sean Misner, a 26-year-old Santa Ynez native, died in the fire. We must use this tragedy to remind ourselves that Misner could have been one of our sons, brothers, or fathers.

Though we can never erase the unbearable pain experienced by these 19 families, we can help ease it by remembering and honoring their loved ones’ tremendous bravery in an unpredictable world. While I am certain there have been other local fundraisers to honor these firefighters, I would like to promote a very special upcoming fundraiser here on the Central Coast.

On Aug. 31, Central Coast CrossFit will host a workout-of-the-day (WOD) fundraising event at its “C3” box in Orcutt. Starting at 9:30 a.m., C3 coaches and volunteers will be sweating it out for a great cause. The public is encouraged to come work out or cheer on friends and family.

For the C3 box, this fundraiser is paramount to everything the gym stands for as a family. Alexandra McCutcheon, a member of C3 who helped organize the event, said C3 members feel deeply for each other. This workout family is filled with civil service workers, and the loss of these young men made it painstakingly clear that any one of their own could lose their lives in a similarly tragic way.

According to McCutcheon, C3 trainer Stephanie Kennedy is a former smoke jumper whose husband is a firefighter for Santa Barbara County. C3 trainer Shawn Torres is a former Marine. McCutcheon herself will join the firefighting way of life when she marries her fiancé, Vandenberg Air Force Base firefighter Andrew Klein.

“We do heinous workouts together every day; we are yelling and cheering on our friends as we struggle through movements we have never done before and as we blaze a new path for our futures,” McCutcheon said. “But we also support one another [in] day-to-day life, which has also come to mean supporting one another through deaths in our families.”

McCutcheon said the idea for the event came about after Captain CrossFit in Prescott, Ariz.—the gym at which many of the fallen hot shots were members—reached out to CrossFit Headquarters requesting a fundraiser for the 19 families.

“We have a large group of CrossFitters who work in the public sector, including police officers, firefighters, and hot shots, so this really hit home,” McCutcheon said. “For these 19 hotshots to be taken from this earth at one time is unheard of—that would nearly wipe out the entire Vandenberg Hot Shot crew if it were fully staffed on a fire. That thought is something that makes our hearts ache for these affected families.”

The Central Coast CrossFit community understands the fear that comes with living a fire-fighter’s way of life and the sacrifice their loved ones make for the good of others.

Now, I’m not normally prone to overemotional declarations or telling people what to do. However, in this one very special case, I highly encourage the community to support these families by attending this important event.

While we might not understand why these young men chose such a perilous profession, we must recognize the bravery in which they walked. Public safety workers are the most selfless of individuals—running into the most dangerous situations that many of us would flee from—often to protect the lives of those they’ve probably never met.

The greatest way we can honor these hot shots is by showing our support for the families they left behind.

Let me put it this way: These men sacrificed futures as fathers and husbands to serve and protect. The least we could do to prove that their lives were not lost in vain is to give up a couple of hours of our Saturday to show our support.

My fellow sports fans, I ask you to come out to the workout-of-the-day fundraiser at the C3 Box in Orcutt on Aug. 31. Workouts are set to begin at 9:30 a.m. followed by a silent auction. I will be there to show my support.

For more information or to make donations, e-mail


Staff Writer Kristina Sewell will be getting her CrossFit on on Aug. 31. Contact her at

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