Wellness Revolution CrossFit in Little Rock Devastated by Tornado, Community Steps in to Help
Those are some of the first words John Vincent, owner of Wellness Revolution CrossFit in Little Rock, Arkansas, says he was told on Friday, March 31, after his 10-year wellness center and affiliate had been ravaged by an intense tornado.
There were six athletes inside the gym when the tornado hit, preparing for the first workouts of the CrossFit Games Age Group Quarterfinals. They took shelter in the center of the building.
- “Luckily, our members made it to an interior room. The front and back of the building had a lot of damage, but the middle was not bad,” Vincent said.“The athletes were able to hunker down in there and came out just fine, and we’re very blessed for that.”
- “I got the call once they came out, and they just said, ‘Prepare yourself,’” he continued.
Wellness Revolution was in shambles. Vincent said along with damages to their flooring, they lost large portions of their roof, exterior walls, windows, garage doors, and dozens of pieces of equipment.
- “It looked like a warzone. It’s all rubble. It’s surreal, something you see on TV and never really think is going to affect you,” Vincent said.
Immediately, the CrossFit community stepped in to support.
The day after the tornado, Vincent estimates he had over 100 people from different gyms in the community come to help clean up. Within hours, the cleanup crew had salvaged usable equipment and taken it to storage.
- “I think six or eight of our members showed up to help clear out the gym and board up the doors,” says Chris Summers, owner of nearby affiliate CrossFit MidPoint and former Wellness Revolution member, “But there was such a huge turnout. They posted a 9 a.m. cleanup crew, and by the time I got there with more people at 10:15, it was done.”
Community boxes, including CrossFit MidPoint, have offered their facilities as a home for Wellness Revolution members as they create a plan to move forward. CrossFit MidPoint is opening its doors to coaches as well, with plans to organize classes led by coaches from both gyms.
Chris Cooper of Two-Brain Business connected Vincent with a CrossFit box in Nashville which suffered a similar tragedy in March of 2020, which Vincent said was an “amazing resource” to answer questions and provide support.
- “They talked a lot about how to keep the community together, though they might not be with you right now. Almost like we did with COVID protocol, doing a video group chat with everyone… to keep them engaged with the community and Wellness Revolution.”
- “Everyone is very supportive — not only because we had members in the box, so there’s a very emotional pull in from that — asking what we can do, how else we can help, what do we need to do,” said Vincent.
Rebuilding: Vincent has plans to rebuild Wellness Revolution and has set up a GoFundMe to help the community reunite as soon as possible. At the time of publication, the fund has raised $1,720 of its $20,000 goal.
- “I’ve been at Wellness Revolution for 10 years, it’s been my home, and I’ve poured my heart into it. To see the gym in this way, it’s not a resource that anyone can use… it’s a gut punch for sure,” Vincent said.
- “Hopefully, we can rebuild, and I can see a way that we get better on the other side of this.”
Donate to Wellness Revolution here.