British Army veteran Mike Burgess dedicated himself to becoming fit. The 42-year-old lives with post-traumatic stress disorder but says he doesn’t let it define who he is. Drawn to CrossFit by its connection to the military, Burgess was intrigued when he saw the results CrossFit produces. In this six-part series, follow the trials and triumphs that go along with “Building Burgess.”
In part 3, Burgess is at the Alberta and Northwest Territories Command Service Office for the Royal Canadian Legion, where he works as an officer who helps other veterans overcome obstacles.
“What I try and do here is take care of the constant, ever-changing issues that I’m getting with veterans of all ages—from welfare situations to pension applications,” Burgess says. “The actual reward of being able to help someone—and sometimes making a life-changing difference—is pretty amazing. ”
Burgess’ career is also beneficial to his personal life.
“A lot of (veterans) don’t realize that there’s anyone out there for them. Making that little bit of a difference—that can light up a thousand gloomy days.
Sometimes it helps when the days are really tough, knowing that I need to look after myself because without that they wouldn’t have got the help.”
Back at CrossFit Calgary, Burgess is up against pull-ups and box jump overs. Coach Colin Hill notices Burgess’ mental strength carrying over to CrossFit.
“He’s a man that can go into the pain tunnel . Being able to get through that is, I think, the key to being successful in CrossFit. Mike just doesn’t seem to want to give up ever, and that’s pretty amazing.”
Video by Jeremy Podlog.
Additional reading: After Their Last Battle by Emily Beers, published Nov. 10, 2013.