Derek Weida dreamed of spending his life serving in the U.S. Army. That dream died when he was shot through the knee in Baghdad, but his medical discharge gave birth to a new dream job -- opening a veteran-operated gym in St. Paul, Minn.
"Over the years I have struggled to find a new purpose in life. In recent months I've realized one thing I miss most is being of service to others," Weida wrote in his pitch on the fundraising website Fundly. "I've always loved fitness, pushing myself physically and mentally, and I realized that leading and motivating others could be my new path."
Weida is 25 percent of the way toward his goal of $25,000 in initial funding.
"I truly believe that training others, feeling a sense of teamwork and camaraderie can help veterans reintegrate and remind them of some of the things they loved to do in the military," he said. "This is my new dream and I finally feel like I have a future."