Veteran Stories

Terrence Fenningham, US Navy Veteran

“Although I’m no longer in uniform, I can still serve.” 

Service has always been in Terrence’s DNA. He describes himself as a very determined and disciplined kid who eventually went on to graduate from the United States Naval Academy. For a few years, Terrence served in the Navy as a Service Warfare Officer, serving “the best country in the world,” before ultimately being medically discharged. After leaving active duty, he was left to ask himself, “What’s next?” Being discharged from the military was never part of the plan, and now he was left with a giant void that had once been filled with service.

“I think there's always more that you can give, more that you can do for others,” Terrence says. He remembers the positive influence his grandfather, a World War II veteran had on him as a child and knew that he wanted to make the same impact on future generations. What was once a void quickly became a new focus. He channeled his energy into becoming a CrossFit Coach, starting two gyms, and using his resources and experience to help young people understand the difference they can make.

“It's the little things. It's holding the door for people. It's picking up trash. It's stopping bullies from hurting little kids. It's the little things that each and every one of us can do that paints the big picture of who we are.” This is Terrence’s message to the next generation.

The ‘big picture,’ Terrence explains, is often skewed for today’s youth who look up to professional athletes or celebrities. Their fame positions them as  role models for many, but celebrity status and character, unfortunately, do not always go hand-in-hand.

For this reason, Terrence found himself completely at home in TMF’s Character Does Matter program, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. As a TMF Ambassador supporting the program, Terrence is able to shape the journey of young kids. He invites student groups to his gym to workout and learn a lesson on the character strength of integrity. Through CrossFit WODs coupled with discussions, Terrence reminds them that it doesn’t take someone “special” to be disciplined, to lead, or to serve; it’s something that all of us do when we make the choice to live with character. Terrence’s goal, he says, is to, “Try to show them the good, to have character, to have integrity, to live each and every day of their lives with those different facets and to be better.”


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