Gilman was privileged to welcome honored guests from the Catch A Lift Fund (CAL) — founded in memory of alumnus Army Cpl. Chris Coffland '84 — to campus on August 16 for an impactful visit with our fall sports athletes and coaches.
Chris' sister, Lynn Coffland, also the co-founder and president of CAL, spoke first, sharing her brother's story. Chris was a beloved member of the Gilman community and a talented football and lacrosse player who played both at Gilman and at the collegiate level at Washington and Lee University. "For football, the best kind of person is one who plays with absolute abandon but does it within the structure of a team concept. That was Chris," said Sherm Bristow '67, who coached Chris at Gilman. Chris joined the United States Army after 9/11 as an intelligence specialist and was tragically killed by a roadside bomb in 2009 while serving in Afghanistan.
CAL was founded the following year 2010 to "help thousands of post 9/11 combat-injured veterans regain their mental and physical health through gym memberships, in-home gym equipment, personalized fitness and nutrition programs, and a peer support network." Three veterans (see their speaker bios) who have benefitted from CAL's mission and work shared their stories with the group of students and coaches, relaying their own battles with mental health after suffering their injuries and the importance that physical fitness and a network of teammates played in their current success. They also shared opportunities for service learning at their Timmonium-based office.
Thank you to CAL for making this impactful visit to our community. Learn more about CAL at catchaliftfund.org.