Struggling vets have way to way to cope with physical and mental issues

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CHANDLER, AZ (CBS5) -

Travis McQuade is all about physical fitness at his Cross Fit Gym in Chandler.

But there's more to this place than just helping others stay in shape.

"As a veteran - we're out of the service, but we still have a duty to pull each other up and have each others' backs," said McQuade. "This is just one way to be able to do that."

The U.S. Army Veteran recently created Wounded Wodders, a non-profit group devoted to helping Vets suffering from physical and mental ailments, including PTSD.

The group provides cross fit gym memberships to vets across the country,  as a form of therapy, and an alternative to prescription medication.

"It starts off, getting them out of the depression state," said McQuade. "You're part of something in the community - starting to prove yourself - you can do things you used to do, but because of injury you might not think you can do again."

Kanani Parker has seen what a difference Wounded Wodders is having on Vets across the country, so she reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to Travis and his business partner Dan Neild.

 A news crew followed along as Parker surprised McQuade and Neild.

"I know how hard you guys work for Wounded Wodders and for Vets all around America," said Parker. "I know how passionate you are helping Vets in need, so on behalf of Vets around America and CBS 5, I would like to Pay it Forward, so here is $500."

  "You can just see it in their eyes when they talk about it, how in love with the program they are and how passionate they are helping Veterans just like them."

"Our goal is to sponsor as many veterans as we can," said McQuade.

For more information on the program go to www.woundedwodders.org.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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