Catch A Lift

Chris Coffland, a Baltimore native who had a passion for working out, viewed life as one great adventure. While his friends pursued careers, got married and had children, he played football in Finland and coached football leagues in Melbourne, Australia and Frankfurt, Germany. He even lived in Gabon, Africa with a tribe of Pygmy hunters for a short while. Although Coffland had done and seen more than most people, it was still not enough.

Coffland continually chased his next adventure. His thirst drove him to serve his country in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. He enlisted in the Army Reserve in December 2007, a month before his 42nd birthday, just prior to the cutoff date when the Army would deem him ‘too old.’ Even though Coffland was older than many of the other soldiers, age was not a factor. Coffland outperformed soldiers half his age and even set an Army record of completing 128 pushups within a minute.

Coffland became an Army Reserve Corporal and an intelligence specialist assigned to the 323rd Military Intelligence Battalion based out of Fort Meade. After two years in the Army, Coffland was deployed to Afghanistan. Two weeks after his deployment he volunteered to take part in a dangerous mission to cover for a father of two. During this mission, enemy forces attacked his unit, and an explosive device detonated. The attack killed Coffland and two fellow soldiers in Wardack Providence, Afghanistan on November 13, 2009.

To carry on Chris Coffland’s memory, his family and friends established the Catch a Lift Memorial Fund in 2011. The organization was founded on his lifelong philosophy that through physical fitness you can achieve your highest potential for a healthy mind and body. That’s why every day he set out to “catch a lift” at the gym.

Catch a Lift Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization based in Baltimore that provides free gym memberships or in-home equipment to veterans across the country who have been wounded post 9-11 in Iraq or Afghanistan. Catch a Lift believes that wounded veterans need a place to get stronger, both physically and mentally. Research has shown that early intervention through physical fitness results in successful rehabilitation for wounded veterans. Along with this, regular exercise helps control weight, reduces the risk of heart disease, strengthens bones and muscles and improves mental health.

More than 48,000 veterans have been wounded post 9-11. In addition to that, 654,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have been treated at VA Hospitals and clinics since December 2010. That means they have a new patient every five minutes.

Veterans can apply for Catch A Lift’s services at Wounded or injured veterans and service members who have been honorably discharged or retired military personnel who have served in the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars are eligible. Catch a Lift welcomes wounded veterans from all service branches. Please visit the foundation’s site if you would like to learn more, to donate, to volunteer or to become a corporate sponsor of the Catch a Lift Memorial Fund.