Community does push-ups to support military charity on Memorial Day weekend

Co-owners Mattison Fetters, right, his wife Stevie, center, and Bo Wind welcome participants and sponsors during their 10th annual Push-ups for Charity event to benefit the Boot Campaign at Recoup Personal Training Studio in Costa Mesa on Saturday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)
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A lively crowd showed up for the 10th annual installment of a push-ups for charity event at Recoup Personal Training in Costa Mesa on Saturday morning.

Participants showed their muscle and helped raise money for the Boot Campaign, a nonprofit whose mission statement is to “honor and restore the lives of veterans and military families through individualized, life-improving programs.”

Throughout the late morning and into the early afternoon, people put their palms on the mat and did as many push-ups as they could within 90 seconds. Pledges were taken for the push-ups produced.

Coming into the event, Mattison Fetters, the owner of the Costa Mesa-based gym, said that the annual fundraiser was closing in on $250,000 raised for military charities since its inception. He said it reached that goal on Saturday.

He then proceeded to pound out 75 push-ups with his hands placed on top of two separate medicine balls. He asked that donors take the degree of difficulty into consideration when making their pledges for that round.

The first to participate, from left, Jennifer Dzioba, 41, of Huntington Beach, co-owner Stevie Fetters, 34, and Angie Jenkins, 60, of Cypress do push-ups.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Fetters went into business with his wife, Stevie, and their business partner Bo Wind. The gym opened in 2020. He said that he feels that taking care of veterans after their service time is a missing piece to the puzzle.

That was the motivation for this annual fundraiser, which started out supporting the Wounded Warrior Project for the first four years and has now raised money for the Boot Campaign for the past six events.

“We feel strongly about how they spend their fundraising to care for service members,” Fetters said of the Boot Campaign.

Jason Borne, 36, of Houston is a veteran ambassador for the Boot Campaign. He said the organization is focused on bridging the gap for veterans upon their return to civilian life.

“What the Boot Campaign does is they provide personalized treatment for veterans, really a customized pipeline of recovery that they put them through to really solve the problems,” Borne said.

“One of the things that I’ve said in years past at these events is there’s plenty of people on social media … that raise awareness — which is great. Awareness is nice, it’s part of the process, but we can be aware of something and not do anything about it … Boot Campaign is trying to do the ‘now what.’”

Participants, from left, Jennifer Dzioba, 41, of Huntington Beach, co-owner Stevie Fetters, 34, and Angie Jenkins, 60, of Cypress catch their breath after doing push-ups for 90 seconds. Dzioba completed 82 push-ups, Fetters did 92 and Jenkins did 81.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

There was also the popular veteran round, which saw four military veterans line up side-by-side and combine for 279 push-ups in their allotted time.

Kevin Whitney, 31, of Mission Viejo partook in the veteran round. He said he served in the Navy from 2009 to 2013. Now, he is the owner and broker of Whitney Realty, which made a $500 donation to the cause.

The event traditionally has been held on Armed Forces Day, but Whitney remarked that the timing could not have been better on Memorial Day weekend.

“Research of PTSD is very lacking, so it’s amazing you have a nonprofit that fully supports and raises money for PTSD research with military [personnel] and veterans,” Whitney said. “I’ve got to support it.”

Will Thompson, 45, of Costa Mesa is a member of the gym and a local artist. He brought paintings to the push-ups for charity fundraiser that were largely coastal creations, and he planned to donate 20% of the proceeds.

Thompson said he had already sold some of his work as of the early afternoon, adding, “I just like the idea of helping people out and helping out veterans.”

Angie Jenkins, 60, of Cypress completed 81 push-ups in 90 seconds.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

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