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Featured Member – April 2019 – Jon Dannelley

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This month’s featured member is Jon Danelley and he has quite a story to tell!! I would say that it’s one that has surely motivated me, and by hearing it through his perspective, I’m sure it will motivate you too!

Originally from Mobile, Alabama, Jon used to work for his father’s boat propeller business. “I would weld and fix boat propellers on boats that were as small as a bass boat, to boats as big as the ones you see hauling cargo to different countries.” Now, how did a guy who fixes boat propellers in Mobile, AL end up here in LA… and how did he get involved in CrossFit? Well, that’s where we get to the moment that his perspective on life completely changed.

In 2014, a less healthy version of Jon was involved in an accident. “I was in the worst shape of my life. I had no muscle tone and a nice little beer gut going. I was on my way to work one morning and was involved in a pretty bad wreck. I was the 7th car in an 8 car pile up on the interstate in Mobile. My truck ramped up over one vehicle and landed on top of two other vehicles. I think one of my tires was in a tree on the other side of the interstate. They had to cut me out of my truck because both doors were crushed in. I remember not being able to move my legs because the impact was so hard that the front dashboard was pretty much in my lap.” Woah. I can’t even begin to imagine the thoughts that would have been going through my own mind if I were in his shoes. What happened from there?

I remember telling myself in the ambulance on the way to the hospital that if I were to make a full recovery, I was never going to take my body for granted and I was going to exercise, and train, and use it to its fullest. After I got out of the hospital, I got a personal trainer at a regular gym to help me recover. I was having severe back problems from the impact, hip problems from the steering wheel landing in my lap, and (!!) shoulder issues from the seat belt jarring pretty bad.” At this point in the story, I can’t wait to share where life has taken him since.

Jon had committed to taking care of his body and in order to get moving again, hired himself a personal trainer at a regular gym… for a pretty penny. Soon, a friend of his recommended he try out a CrossFit box that they went to. After being introduced to the head coach there, and explained his situation – which resulted in being offered a membership at the box for a fraction of the personal trainer’s price. “I decided to trust him and give CrossFit a try… and never looked back. Some of my best friends are from CrossFit. You can’t ask for a better group of individuals and a worldwide community. It brought me out of that dark time of injury and pain in 2014, to where I am now in the best shape of my life.

Clearly, since we’re lucky enough to have Jon here at CFTY, he left his job in the boat propeller business… so what brought him to LA? “After the wreck, I had an entirely different perspective on life. I started pursuing things that I loved and my main goal was to make it in the industry.” By industry, he means that he’s always wanted to be an actor, ever since he was a little kid. So, with this new found motivation to really live life, the pursuit began. He has since booked films, tv shows, and commercials, and has had the opportunity to pursue acting full time. “I also do stunts and have been on sets getting paid to get my ass kicked so other actors don’t get hurt. CrossFit has helped me out so much with keeping my body ready and in shape for anything that the industry throws my way.” Going from just trying to move again without pain to WILLINGLY, as he’s described: “falling 60ft off a building, getting hit by cars, getting set on fire, or having a bottle busted over [his] head.” “Without CrossFit, I don’t think I would have the confidence pursuing what I love. The confidence I gain from completing a workout that I thought was impossible or PRing a lift that I never thought I would be able to hit, definitely helps me out whether it’s at an audition or giving me the confidence to jump off that building.”

I asked if he had any advice for someone also in the pursuit of what they love. Here is his completely inspiring, unedited answer:

There will be a lot of people and a lot of obstacles that will discourage you and keep you from pursuing your dream. Whatever your dream is (actor, stuntman, director, producer, musician, CrossFit Games Athlete, etc…) use the discouragement and obstacles thrown your way to fuel your passion. If you have a serious and burning passion for something, then hard work and a never quit mindset will definitely get you there. You have got to believe in yourself and believe that you ARE good enough. To me, doing that is what separates the ones who succeed in accomplishing their dreams from the ones that say they wish they could accomplish their dreams.

And with that, THANK YOU JON. I’m looking forward to the day when we, as your CFTY community, can go on a future field trip to see the movie starring YOU. Wishing you the best in your continued pursuit – we’ll be cheering you on as always!!