Lebanon's IMA/CrossFit recently announced they will serve as the official host for "The Murph Challenge 2017" on Memorial Day.
"Local athletes have the opportunity to take part in something that has grown into an amazing Memorial Day tribute to a fallen American hero," Brian Fussell, owner and lead instructor at IMA/CrossFit, said.
Since 2014, gyms like IMA/CrossFit, in cooperation with Forged - a non-profit organization that helps wounded veterans and their families cope during times of recover - have raised nearly $800,000 for the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation through The Murph Challenge Campaign. With such overwhelming support and success, the foundation was able to add four additional scholarships in 2016, now providing the opportunity to award 22 or more scholarships each year.
"We consider it an honor to be a host gym for this event on Memorial Day," Fussell continued. "We have participated for several years, but being a host location, it opens the event up to everyone in our community, not just our CrossFit team members."
The unique Memorial Day tradition will take place at IMA/CrossFit, located at 107 Bay Court, and throughout the United States on Monday, May 29. The public is invited to join countless other Americans and register for The Murph Challenge 2017 at themurphchallenge.com.
"We will not turn anyone away on Memorial Day, however, we encourage all participants to pre-register on the website so they can get their commemorative Murph Challenge T-shirt," Fussell noted. "The Murph is more than just a workout. It has become a tradition here at IMA/CrossFit. This workout helps push us, humble us and dedicate a bit of pain and sweat to honor a man who gave everything he had."
Michael Patrick "Murph" Murphy was a U.S. Navy SEAL officer who was awarded the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the War in Afghanistan. He was the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War. His other posthumous awards include the Silver Star Medal and the Purple Heart.
Murphy was the commander of a four-man reconnaissance team on a mission to kill or capture a top Taliban leader. The team was dropped by helicopter in a remote, mountainous area near the Pakistan border. After an initially successful infiltration, local goat herders stumbled upon the SEALs' hiding place. Unable to verify any hostile intent from the herders, the team cut them loose.
Hostile locals, possibly the goat herders they allowed to pass, alerted nearby Taliban forces, who surrounded and attacked the small group. After Murphy called for help, an MH-47 Chinook helicopter loaded with reinforcements was dispatched to rescue the team but was shot down with a rocket-propelled grenade, killing all 16 personnel on board - eight SEALs and eight service members from the 160th SOAR. Murphy was among those killed in action. All three of Murphy's men were awarded the Navy's second-highest honor, the Navy Cross, for their part in the battle, making theirs the most decorated Navy SEAL team in history.