On Aug. 6, 2011, a Chinook military helicopter carrying a U.S. Navy SEAL team was shot down in Afghanistan’s Wardak province. Thirty Americans lost their lives — 31, if you count Bart, a military working dog.

In the weeks that followed, more than 400 CrossFit gyms across the U.S. hosted workouts to raise money for the families of the 30 people lost. They raised $300,000 and the 31Heroes Project was born.

One of those gyms was Lodi’s own Another Level CrossFit, which had just opened that year.

“CrossFit has a good way of reaching out to new affiliates,” said Stephanie Perez, a coach at the gym.

The program reached out to Another Level and helped them organize their own fundraiser to help the project.

And this year, the Lodi gym is all in once again.

“We look forward to it every year,” Perez said. “It’s good to get the community together like that.”

The gym will be hosting its fifth annual 31Heroes WOD — short for “workout of the day” — beginning at 9 a.m. on Aug. 1.

The concept is simple.

“You register online,” Perez said. “It’s $31 to participate. You get a T-shirt for the event, and then you participate in a workout with a partner.”

The entire Lodi community is invited to attend.

The gym’s 250 regulars range in age from 9 to 73, at all fitness levels. There will be workouts geared toward beginners and children as well as more intense options.

There is a list of participants who have signed up without partners, so those who don’t have a friend to join them shouldn’t be deterred, Perez said.

The gym will host a barbecue during the event, so anyone not working out can come and watch while enjoying a snack.

Those who come are encouraged to donate to the cause, though, even if they don’t join in the workout, Perez said.

While CrossFit is focused on fitness, the goals of the day will be to have fun — and to honor the sacrifices of America’s fallen soldiers.

“It’s kind of like we come together, because CrossFit is big on community,” Perez said.

As for the 31Heroes Project, five years in, it has expanded beyond the 30 families it originally set out to help. It’s now a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for support services geared toward the families of fallen soldiers, as well as veterans who have survived traumatic injuries.

Since 2011, more than $1.5 million has been raised for veterans and families of lost soldiers.

To register for the event at Another Level CrossFit, visit www.31heroes.com/WOD and register under “Another Level CrossFit” in the California section.

Another Level CrossFit is located at 1205 E. Vine St. in Lodi. For more information, email stephanie@anotherlevelcrossfit.com.

Contact reporter Kyla Cathey at kylac@lodinews.com.

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