By this point if you’ve been following Active Heroes and the WOD to End Veteran Suicide you may have seen the name, South Jersey OCR (obstacle course racing).
James Schissler, owner of South Jersey OCR, has been a part of the WOD to End Veteran Suicide from the beginning.
Schissler had worked with Active Heroes originally through a friend that held the Carry the Fallen ruck march not far from where Schissler lives. Speaking on the ruck march Schissler added, “It’s amazing how at the start of the ruck everyone starts off as strangers, and then the more you ruck the more you get to learn about people until the end and then you basically consider yourself friends.”
Keeping up with Active Heroes through Facebook, he found out about the WOD TO End Veteran Suicide. It wasn’t long before he found himself immersed in the two major Active Heroes events.
Raising awareness of veteran suicide through fitness made sense for him as a positive way to spread the message and help people get active, stating ‘if you’re stressed out, get up and go to the gym’.
Schissler profoundly stated that he was able to channel some of his frustration and upset through not only working out but through Active Heroes.
“I took my anger and bitterness, and flipped it, I took that energy and did something great with it,” said Schissler, “I got focused on where my roots come from, how I could give back and help out the community and raise awareness of causes that really matter.”
A civilian himself, Schissler comes from a background in law enforcement. While Schissler has and continues to represent fallen law enforcement officers, until working with Active Heroes, he was unaware of the statistics behind veteran suicide.
“It’s great to be a part of such a good cause. It’s also awesome to raise awareness of something that I myself wasn’t even aware of. Plus, I can represent our troops even though I’m a civilian,” said Schissler.
Schissler gave praise to Active Heroes for the support in training him as a team leader, cheering on the assistance through video trainings and networking with other gym owners in the country.
Schissler goes on to say that his first WOD to End Veteran Suicide at South Jersey OCR was slow getting sign ups at first, but the more people heard about it and did their research on the cause and the statistics, the more people wanted to join in.
“The local media came out which really helped sign ups, it was pretty cool to see how the community came together for the cause,” shared Schissler.
Growing from paying for out of pocket for everything, to going for sponsors in the community, Schissler has continues to grow their WOD each year. South Jersey OCR has raising thousands for Active Heroes and their programs for military and veteran families.