CrossFit Coach Loses Life Saving Wife from Rip Current in Puerto Rico

March 9, 2023 by
Courtesy of WildFire CrossFit
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On March 3, the WildFire CrossFit Community in Phoenix, AZ lost long-time coach and friend Damian Walker, who drowned trying to save his wife’s life from a rip current in Puerto Rico while on vacation with 22 other family members. 

Walker’s wife Salmeh’s life was saved, but his was not. His father, Lou Walker, was also taken by the current, and his body has still not been found. 

Salmeh did manage to pull her husband’s body from the water and began performing CPR on him on the beach, “but he had already drowned,” explained WildFire CrossFit owner Tiffany Divelbiss, who owns the gym with her husband Skip Divelbiss.

Walker at WildFire: Walker, 33, had been coaching at WildFire CrossFit for 10 years and was described as “the spark that lit the fire for so many people.”

  • “Damian was 100 percent larger than life and had the biggest heart of anyone we know. He would stop on the side of the road to make sure an animal was OK,” said Divelbiss, fighting back tears. “He was always the one that hyped everyone up, but he (also) had this insane humor and was a prankster. He liked to make us laugh and keep us on his toes. It was always out of love.”
  • She added: “He always made sure he got to know things about our members. He really took the time to get to know all of them.”
Courtesy of WildFire CrossFit

Honoring a hero: Still deep in grief, the WildFire community quickly set up a GoFundMe for Walker’s family. At the time of publishing, it had raised almost $18,000.

  • They also just designed a Hero Workout in honor of Walker and will be hosting an event on April 2—what would have been Walker’s 33rd birthday—where people will have the chance to complete the workout and celebrate Walker’s life.

The workout: Damian “D”

33 rounds of:

  • 3 handstand push-ups
  • 3 power cleans (185/1125 pounds)
  • 2 pistols
  • 3 bar muscle-ups

And while nothing will bring Walker back, Divelbiss is hoping the April 2 event and the hero workout will give everyone a way to honor their coach and friend and remember him for the amazing man he was.

“He touched so many people and we want to give our community something to rally around and share their Damian moments to celebrate him…and help us all heal. He was the heart and soul of WildFire CrossFit,” she said.

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