Push Ups for Patriots

by The Avonian

17,280 total push-ups.  1,440 sets of 12 push-ups.  12 push-ups every minute for 24 hours.

In any format, the numbers are staggering, but Athletic Director and former Marine John Bourgault ’80, will tell you that the Push-Ups for Patriots event is not about the push-ups; it’s about “people making a commitment to each other,” a sentiment that was perhaps truer this year since mathematics teacher Rob Whitty ’87, and Dean of Faculty Jim Detora joined Major Bourgault for the fourth annual push-up marathon.  “Their commitment to go the distance was huge in allowing each of us to continue through to the end,” Bourgault remarked. “The first 12-15 hours are not bad…actually they are kind of fun. To me, the 15-22 hour period is the toughest, both mentally and physically. That’s when you want to quit. But having other committed guys beside you keeps you going.” Dean Detora adds, “Training with Rob (Whitty) and John (Bourgault) was the key.  We pushed each other to get ready for the event.  As for the 24 hours of push-ups, it was tougher than I ever imagined, but there was no way I could stop and let down Rob and John.”  In addition, Bourgault estimates some 200 other students (with Vince DeBlasio ’13, and Kyle Klett ’12, leading the way) and faculty participated during the twenty-four hours.  Some joined the trio on the mat to do push-ups for stretches of time, while others provided much-needed encouragement, food, refreshments, and entertainment.  Students from nearby Ethel Walker School also got involved this year, a first for the event. The day-long fundraiser supports the Semper Fi Fund to help wounded Marines.  And, for each of the last three years, the event has raised $15,000.  The numbers associated with the event are impressive, to be sure, but perhaps more impressive is the commitment to each other that the event fosters and depends on.  Missed this year was J. Alex Story ’10, who had participated every year as a student, but who died tragically in 2011. His name appeared on the event t-shirt as participants remembered him as part of the cause.

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