Camp Lejeune. The biggest USMC base on the east coast and home to the Marine Hardcore Series. Christian Coronato and Garrett “GUNZ” Griffin made the trip for the weekend on behalf of Animal and had the chance to meet and talk to so many young great people, doing something that most of us will never do… Every few months, changing locations, learning new trades, and changing their entire lives. It’s not uncommon for many to miss holidays and most family events as so many of them are stationed far away from their roots, and have no way, nor time, to get home. For many, most of their time spent while on base is either attending to the dead serious business of being a Marine, or training in the gym.
While in the gym so many of these men and women just brutally punish the weights and push their limits until they have nothing left. For hours on end, and never giving up. Always willing to push more. It is engrained in them. That never-say-die work ethic is part of who they are. They know no other way.
A perfect example of this approach to life is Dennis Naddnee. Dennis is someone who so many people can learn from. Wrath and G Diesel first encountered him at a prior Lejeune event in June and were blown away by his resilient character, positive attitude and kick-ass physique. A family man, with a heart of gold.. Constantly wanting to better himself, and the Marines around him. His story, fighting his way back from a devastating combat injury, is nothing short of awe-inspiring. We are truly grateful to have gotten to know a man of that caliber. And we hope to cross paths with Big Dennis again soon.
Two different events constituted the iron festivities at Camp Lejeune that weekend. The first was an all-day weightlifting event. Garrett and Christian were there to support the athletes, talk shop, give out samples, and answer any questions related to Animal, nutrition or training in general. They stuffed thirteen gym bags with full product, shakers, pill cases, and straps for each weight class winner. Garrett was able to discuss technique and talk about some of his past powerlifting experiences and adventures—truly enlightening and enriching for those Marines who aspire to push the world class weights. It was a long day in North Carolina, but a good one.
The next day we had an ABC (Animal Barbell Club) gathering. The event was early on a Sunday morning, so naturally we were skeptical about who was going to show up. However, with over 50 people in attendance we had a great turnout. We had the gym to ourselves, opened exclusively for Animal and our USMC brethren. Christian trained arms and traded stories with Dennis, Amiel and Tom. Garrett put on a small clinic benching—just another day at the office for that dude. He worked his way up to a 520lb raw bench, all the while helping people with their form and technique. Everyone there that day certainly took away some jewels of wisdom on how to raise their game on the bench press.
“Giving Back”. It is a phrase thrown around so loosely these days. But to us at Animal, it is something special. We seek to educate, inspire and encourage all of those with whom we are privileged to come in contact. But making a trip to a place like Camp Lejeune, and rubbing elbows with true, everyday heroes is a humbling experience. An honor we don’t take lightly. as the gestures of time and generosity that we make to show support to our brave men and women pale in comparison to all they do to give back to us each and every day. To each of you we owe a great debt of gratitude. Semper Fi.