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Army veteran lifting vets through health and fitness

Posted at 1:42 PM, Mar 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-04 19:13:19-05

A retired army veteran who overcame his service-related struggles wants other veterans to know, there’s hope for them too.

Dominic Franco said it was a struggle when he got out of the army.

“When I got out, I had my own issues,” said Franco.

We interviewed Franco in December, when he told KRIS 6 News of his own struggles with alcohol as a coping mechanism. But now, he’s turned a corner and is helping other veterans turn corners too.

“After getting into fitness, I realized that was a great way to deal with whatever stresses I had in life,” said Franco.

In January, Franco started hosting workouts on the first and third Saturday of the month at Cole Park. Now, about a dozen veterans are showing up, including Gilbert Serrato, who says the workouts are making a difference in his life.

“It doesn’t just lift our spirits, it lifts us physically,” said Serrato.

Spiritual and physical support are key for our nation’s veterans. Many face anxiety and depression. Some turn to drugs, alcohol and even suicide.

For Army veteran Sam Long, Franco’s bi-weekly workouts are a way to stay in shape and engaged.

“If you’re not active and stuff, a lot of veterans tend to just isolate and drink or self medicate,” said Long.

Serrato agrees.

“Being with a group of people that are like-minded, it just makes it a lot easier to do,” said Serrato.

Franco tells us the workouts are free and anyone is welcome, including veterans with disabilities.

For Franco, it’s just his way to give back and make a difference one workout at a time.

“Come out, get a work out in, feel better, and go about your day,” said Franco.

Franco also began an apparel company that goes hand-in-hand with his workout sessions. The company is called LFT VET Premium Apparel, and is lifting veterans through health and fitness. Click here for more information about the company and the workouts.