- In the fall of 2006, we received an order from SFC Kenneth Blackstone with a note: “Ma’am, I am from Georgia, but please be advised I am in Iraq and need the products sent here. I have been asked to start teaching aerobics to soldiers who are interested, but it has been awhile. So if there be any words of wisdom or any workouts you could offer, it would surely help the morale, health, and welfare here. Pray for us in harms way.”
After sending Kenneth her entire collection, Gin wrote: “Let me say we are very proud to have you using our DVDs – I’m sure you are doing an outstanding job, and if I could see you there leading our brave men and women, I’m sure I would be impressed. Thank you for your hard work on our country’s behalf.”
Kenneth responded: “The guys in my unit are some of the most fit in the military. We have strong man competitions, there are some triatheletes and bunch of bodybuilders. Surprisingly alot of guys from my unit attend my class. I think it’s cool, that even here in Iraq, we can take an hour and forget the war. Last night I started the class by saying, ‘I know it’s Monday and I know you’re worn out. I know there are insurgents and IEDs waiting for us at every turn, BUT THIS IS OUR HOUR AND THEY WILL NOT TAKE THIS AWAY FROM US.’ Cheesy I know but it got everyone going. Thank you for your kind words and the support you have shown.”
It was this back and forth connection made with a dedicated soldier that inspired Gin to create a workout specifically to honor our men and women serving overseas. After holding a contest to cast the workout titled “Cramped Quarters”, the 7 segments of the cardio strength circuit workout, designed to be done with minimal equipment and in small spaces, was finally produced.
The entire workout is available on a ‘cost-of-goods’ DVD. Gin’s fans have wondered how she can afford to sell the Cramped Quarters workout on DVD for only $2.99, – but this not-for-profit project is intended as a gift for our men and women in service.
We hope that family members will share this gift with their loved ones overseas, that spouses can enjoy the workout at home and know that their loved ones are appreciated. We also hope that all of Gin’s fans – or any others who might be enjoying this great workout for small spaces – will be inspired in-kind by her gift of appreciation to the people who have dedicated their lives in service to our country.
For those so moved, there are a wide variety of organizations that support our military and their families and we hope you will consider paying it forward by making a donation to the charity of your choice. These are just a few of such charities:
National Military Family Association – the voice for military families – serves military spouses, children and families.
Operation Home Front – provides emergency assistance and morale to our troops, to the families they leave behind and to wounded warriors when they return home.
The Armed Forces Foundation was established to promote the morale, welfare, and quality of life of the United States armed forces community, including active duty military, reservists, and retired personnel and their families. Last year, the Foundation donated 91% of all outside contributions directly to deployed military families.
Soldiers Angels - volunteer-based nonprofit, we have over 30 different teams supporting all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Through special projects, dedicated teams and individuals supporting our troops, we make a visible difference in the lives of our service members and their families.
Armed Services YMCA – a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is a national member association of the YMCA of the USA and works with the Department of Defense. ASYMCA offers essential programs such as childcare, hospital assistance, spouse support services, food services, computer training classes, health and wellness services, and holiday meals, among many others.
The Fisher House™ – program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America’s military in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
Homes for Our Troops – building specially adapted homes for our severly injured veterans
Intrepid Fallen Heros Fund - Join our effort to support those who have sacrificed so much in service to our nation. 100% of all donations fo to our programs; nothing is deducted for administrative expenses.
Operation Helmet sent over 35,000 shock-absorbing helmet upgrades to the troops, and still have a backlog of over 900 troops headed into combat with old-style helmet. They are a 100% volunteer, non-partisan, charitable organization headquartered in Montgomery, Texas (near Houston) with volunteer operations around the country. 99.96% of all contributions are used to send upgrade kits to our troops!
Wounded Warrior Project – Wounded Warrior Project provides unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of severely injured service members.
For a comprehensive list of more military-related charity associations, visit Military.com
And if all you can afford to give is time and words of appreciation – eMail Our Military. “eMOM” founder is a military wife, the daughter of a veteran and an avid troop supporter. They are volunteers from all walks of life who understand that regardless of our political views, our military service members deserve our respect, support & encouragement.
As this project has finally come full circle, we are pleased to note that Kenneth Blackstone has returned home and still serves in the military stationed at nearby Dobbins AFB in Marietta.