EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - As Atlantic City Police Officer David Shapiro was completing the first leg of the CrossFit workout Saturday, he couldn’t help but think about how fortunate he was just to be able to participate.
His fellow officer, Joshlee Vadell, was shot in the line of duty over Labor Day weekend when investigating a robbery. Vadell is facing a long recovery, and Shapiro was one of about 40 athletes who took on a crossfit workout fundraiser, the Blue Lives Matter Community Strong CrossFit event, to benefit their brother in blue.
“When I think of everything he is going through, I realize how fortunate we are to come home at night and do workouts like this,” said Shapiro. “A few painful workouts are just a fraction of what he is going through. Seeing this shows how strong the community is.”
Members of the gym, fellow police officers from several departments and members of the community joined forces to support Vadell. The event was sponsored by CrossFit OTG and D’Arcy Johnson Day Lawyers. It included a crossfit workout for those ages 15 and older and family-fun activities lsuch as visits with Chase from Paw Patrol and Elmo, crafts, games and a bubble blowing machine. It was held at CrossFit OTG, 3330 Bargaintown Road.
“So many people in the area have been moved by the story of Officer Vadell. They want to help, but they’re not sure what they can do,” said Christopher Day, a partner at D’Arcy Johnson Day, in a press release. “The Blue Lives Matter Community Strong CrossFit event gives everyone in the area a chance to come together to support the Vadell family.”
Nick DiMatteo, co-owner of CrossFit OTG, explained the course to participants, and reminded them to have fun. “You are here for the right reason so have fun,” he said. “You might want to finish for Josh, but if you can’t, remember this is a charity event.”
Six heats of athletes in teams of two competed in two races, and winners were announced in three divisions. The workout was intense. First they ran with a medicine ball. Then they had to throw the ball over a 7-1/2-foot bar to their partner. After that they had to step up and over a large wooden block with the weighted ball in hand. They did squats and had to extend their arms over their head while holding the medicine ball and then they had to pick it up and toss it over their shoulder. They did pushups, sit-ups and deadlifts and worked out on the rowing machine.
The obstacles were broken down into two races, and competitors were limited to 10 minutes per race. Any incomplete repetitions were added to their final times. Judges watched at each station to ensure proper form and to count repetitions. Some stations required 30 reps and others called for 80 cumulative repetitions.
“I work out, but I don’t usually participate in competitions. This was for a good cause,” said Joe Doyle of Margate. “It was fun and quick, but I do wish I warmed up more.”
“It’s for a good cause, and I’m happy to help a community member out. It was a tough workout but it went by fast,” said Patty Cloud of Galloway.
All of the funds raised at the Blue Lives Matter Community Strong CrossFit event will be donated to the Vadell family. More than $117,000 has already been raised on Go Fund Me. Search for “This Blue Life Matters (Josh Vadell)” on www.gofundme.com.