Image credit: Red Eagle Crossfit (instagram.com/redeaglecrossfit)
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On Friday, December 10, Leah Klumper and 20 of her members were at the Red Eagle CrossFit rally in Mayfield, KY for “Friends of Friends” to celebrate Kluemper’s termination of the physical therapist assistant program.
Three hours later, the gym was gone, lost in the deadly tornado that swept Kentucky and five other states on the night of December 10 and the early morning hours of December 11.
- “We worked and then ate and celebrated, “We need everyone out by 7,” said Clumber, a Red Eagle CrossFit owner for nearly five years, and I said to my assistant coaches, “because we knew the storm was coming.”
- “We certainly wouldn’t have succeeded if we had been there when the hurricane hit, “It sucked up everything right away,” said Clumber, who left the gym at 7 p.m. and drove to her mother’s home 20 kilometers away with her husband to avoid the hurricane.
what happened after that: At 10 p.m., Kluemper gets a call telling her that her gym has disappeared. She explained that she was in disbelief, and needed to see for herself.
- At 10:45 p.m., after the storm passed through Mayfield, Clumber is back in the gym.
- “I didn’t want to believe it. “It’s just one of those things that you don’t understand until you actually see it,” she said.
- Upon reaching the gym, it was clear that almost nothing could be saved. The rowers were bent and lost pieces, the rig was tilted laterally, and even the wall ball targets were all bent.
- “It looked like everything had been picked up, twisted and slammed…We were able to find some stuff, but we’re not sure if it’s safe for people to use. There are still four attack bikes in the gym. Which isn’t funny, but we joked, “Of course, Assault Bikes made it,” she said.
rebuild: While Kluemper totally intends to “rebuild” her gym, she also admits that she’s not sure what this will look like.
- “I would like to build a building because I plan to become a physical therapist And I wanted to have a gym (in my clinic), but I have to wait and see… at the moment I don’t even know what to do,” she said. “Even if I wanted to rent a new building now, my town is in ruins and nothing can rent it. There is no water or electricity inside the city at the moment.”
- She added: “I know it’s just a gym, but it’s more than just a gym for all of us.”
I didn’t want to believe it. It’s just one of those things you don’t understand until you actually see it.
Community steps in: Kluemper said she has been overwhelmed by the way the larger CrossFit community has provided support since she lost her job and livelihood five days ago.
- Brandi Key, owner of CrossFIt digs deep in Paducah, Kentucky, I reached out to Kluemper right away and asked, “How can I help?” Then set up a GoFundMe page to help Kluemper rebuild her gym. At the time of publication, it had raised $4,088.
- Other Kentucky gyms have also provided support, Including CrossFit Murrary, which allows Kluemper members to train there right now.
- “And a lot of other far away gyms are donating and wondering what they can do,” Kluemper added, including the owners of CrossFit Hermitage, a Tennessee gym that lost in a hurricane in 2020, and the owners reached out to advise.
- Clumber explained that generous support from the community has softened the blow. “I just want to say how much I appreciate our CrossFit community. Hearing I’m not in this alone makes me feel better and that’s all the more reason I chose to open a CrossFit gym, so I appreciate everyone who thinks of us,” she said.
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