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'We just need a home': Fuel Performance Center is more than a gym, it helps veterans in need

"It's home. It's a place to go home."
Posted at 10:40 PM, Sep 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-12 23:40:20-04

OAK CREEK, Wis. — Fuel Performance Center in Oak Creek is helping veterans in need.

"The concept behind it is to incubate veteran small businesses," Ventures Co-Owner Dan Newberry says. "On top of that, we also offer combat sports training, so mixed martial arts, boxing. We have an open gym format."

One veteran shared how much the center means to him.

"Honestly just taking care of my brothers," veteran Ryan Hooper says. "I was a medic in the Army with the 10th-mile division, second battalion, 14th infantry. And as a medic, you know, that's what it is. You keep everybody alive. You are your brother's keeper, and you're the first line person. When they have mental problems, who they talk to, so it means a lot to me because I've lost a lot of friends to suicide myself."

"You get really close to people when you tend to go through tough times with them," Pure Fighting Championships Co-Promoter Zac Ottow says. "So whether it's just pushing yourself individually to get through that workout and do that extra rep and you're doing it with your brothers and sisters. That helps bring that camaraderie, kind of that same camaraderie that they got in the military."

And this is more than a gym.

"It's home," Newberry says. "It's a place to go home. I think when I got out of the military and I transitioned and I went from veteran resource to veteran resource. I went from, you know, to working with veteran resources, to being employed by veteran resources. I learned the one thing that everyone's just, I learned that we just need a home."

Recently, Hooper and Newberry held an MMA fight for charity to help their fellow military members.

"A lot of PTSD is worked with through, you know, things like fight training, jiu-jitsu, working out, and you know, workout classes, lifting weights," Hooper says. "And being the veteran community, doing that altogether with a few extra people that want to come in. First responders are welcome here too. It's just a better community."

"Just the fact that they're doing something positive," Hooper says. "Continuing to be healthy and encourage others to also go down the same path that they did."

The Fuel Performance Center is growing into the home for veterans they want it to be.

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