Animal Visits Wounded Warriors in Germany

In the midst of the educational and entertaining cultural journey that was the Universal Road Trip through Austria and Germany, came an opportunity of great consequence and true import. On Tuesday, April 9th, 2013, Animal and Universal staff and athletes, including Evan “Ox” Centopani, Antoine Vaillant and David Hoffmann visited Ramstein Air Base-the largest American military installation in the world outside of the continental United States.

Here they made a promotional stop at the PX, a massive retail outlet designed to address the wide-ranging needs of military members and their families, in the heart of The Exchange, which is basically a traditional mall in the middle of an immense and densely populated military base. But that wasn't Animal's true purpose in venturing out to Ramstein.

In association with the USO, Animal visited Wounded Warriors—American soldiers on the mend in Germany after suffering injuries in the theatre of war in Iraq or Afghanistan. These brave men and women of all ages and backgrounds (some rocking their own Animal Iconic shirts), gathered with the Animal crew in the casual and friendly setting of the USO lounge. Here stories were told, jokes were cracked, training advice was dispensed and warm wishes and genuine admiration was exchanged. A humbling experience, it is safe to say that the experience of that afternoon in April made as profound an impact on the visiting bodybuilders as they had ever hoped to make on our gallant servicemen.

After leaving the USO facilities, the boys headed over to train with the soldiers, in something of an informal Animal Barbell Club event. It was a packed house in what was an amazingly well-equipped venue, with several jacked soldiers hitting it hard, training with intensity and brushing shoulders with the fellas from Animal and Universal, all in the spirit of mutual improvement, putting their own spin on the phrase “American Exceptionalism”.

These men and women are most certainly exceptional but not simply by nature of their country of origin. They are exceptional because of their commitment to excellence, their unwavering and their predilection for sacrifice. All at Animal and Universal salute our military and the hard work they do everyday without fanfare to keep us safe, affording us the opportunity to pursue our dreams. It is in this, the most important of ways, that they are our heroes.


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