MURRAY – A local gym participated earlier this summer in a fundraiser to honor fallen soldiers.
Speaking right before the July 4 holiday last week, Nick Calhoon, owner of Tribe Fitness in Murray, said he invited people affiliated with the gym to participate on Memorial Day in the “Murph Challenge,” a strenuous workout regimen that raises money for the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation.
“It’s basically something that people began to do on Memorial Day in honor of (Murphy), but also in honor of all fallen soldiers,” Calhoon said. “It’s always a good time to get the community together and participate. For us, our gym was going to do it, and we just kind of do an open invitation for anyone who wants to come out to let them know they are welcome to join us.”
According to Medal of Honor News, Lt. Michael Patrick Murphy was a United States Navy SEAL posthumously awarded the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in 2005 during the War in Afghanistan. He was the first person to be awarded the medal for actions in Afghanistan, and the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War.
After participating in several War on Terrorism missions, Murphy was killed on June 28, 2005, after his team was compromised and surrounded by Taliban forces near Asadabad, Afghanistan. A hit movie about the circumstances surrounding his death, “Lone Survivor,” was written and directed by Peter Berg and released in 2013. Actor Taylor Kitsch portrayed Murphy in the film.
According to themurphchallenge.com, the Murph Challenge is the official annual fundraiser of the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, presented by Forged. Since 2014, Forged has raised more than $1,250,000 for the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation through The Murph Challenge campaign. In 2020, The Murph Challenge Fundraiser raised more than $250,000 in order to finalize construction on the LT Michael P. Murphy Navy SEAL Museum/Sea Cadet Training Facility in Long Island, New York. In addition, the Foundation awarded 32 scholarships in 2020 with the addition of two new scholarships – one at St. Joseph’s College to a veteran for undergraduate or graduate study and one to Rocky Point High School on Long Island in memory of Marine Sgt. Robert A. Pole, who was killed in action in Iraq.
“It is important to remember that The Murph Challenge is more than just a workout,” the site says. “It is a tradition that helps push us, humbles us, and allows us the opportunity to dedicate a bit of pain and sweat to honor LT. Michael P. Murphy (SEAL), a man who sacrificed everything he had for our freedom. Join us this year as we continue to help keep his legacy alive through The Murph Challenge campaign.”
The site says the “Murph” workout consists of a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and another 1-mile run. All of that must be done in a 20 pound vest or body armor.
“This year, we actually did it at Calloway County High School using their facilities, and we had roughly 50 people show up and participate,” Calhoon said. “It’s a cool event, but the workout is pretty brutal. About five to 10 non-gym members participated.
“It’s in opportunity to remember on Memorial Day. Sure, we’re getting the opportunity to do a workout, but in the grand scheme of things, we’re not sacrificing much. We’re sacrificing a little bit of time, and the only reason we are able to do things that we do, from a freedom standpoint, is in large part due to our service men and women doing what they do every day. So for us, it’s just kind of a chance to honor soldiers who have passed away defending freedom.
“I know we have a ton of gym members who have friends and family who are currently in the Armed Forces, so for them, it’s definitely a special moment to honor them. Some of them have had family members who have passed away in the field, so for them specifically, it’s always going to be a little more personal. It’s about not making the day about us, but to remember those who have sacrificed for us.”