Kaiden and his mother lost a father and husband, respectively, with the passing of U.S. Air Force Tech Sergeant Phillip Myers while serving in Afghanistan in April 2009. In an instant, Kaiden lost a key family member, mentor and male role model.
Angels of America’s Fallen stepped in to support Kaiden in finding something he enjoys. He tried CrossFit and quickly found a passion for the sport. Early in his teens, Kaiden competed in The Open and placed in the top 200 worldwide and the top 100 in the United States. By the time he was 14, Kaiden was competing against adults in local competitions.
Kaiden earned a spot in the 2021 CrossFit Games by ranking among the top 20 in the world in his age group. Along with finding his full-time sport, he has cultivated an extended family with key mentors through his CrossFit community. And Angels of America’s Fallen has been with him each step of the way to build that passion and work with mentors who truly care about him.
“I just want to say how thankful we are for your foundation and what these children have been able to start, or continue, because of your mission,” Kaiden’s mother wrote. “My son found CrossFit a few years ago and that has turned into his full-time sport where he has made it to worldwide competitions. He absolutely loves CrossFit, has found a family within this community which comes along with so many amazing mentors. The men and women that rally around and support Kaiden is everything my momma heart needed!”
Kaiden’s CrossFit family recently honored his own family at a recent competition. Each year the Freedom Games honors a fallen soldier, and Kaiden’s father was chosen as this year’s recipient.
“The CrossFit community recently had a competition where each year they honor a fallen soldier,” Kaiden’s mother wrote. “This year they chose Kaiden’s dad to honor! I could speak for both of us when I say this was the most amazing way to honor his dad; through something Kaiden loves doing.”
Kaiden’s passion for CrossFit has enabled him to become stronger, not just physically.
“Kaiden is much more mentally (and physically) stronger because of this sport!” Kaiden’s mother said. “Thank you for giving him this opportunity to build his self-esteem and find a passion! He could not have done this without the support from Angels of America’s Fallen!”
Angels of America’s Fallen supports activities that provide healthy and regular engagement for children of our fallen military and first responders. Activities include sports, fitness, dance, music, the arts, and other pursuits that link children with positive adult role models, cultivate individual interests, and encourage exploration of a variety of developmental abilities.
In this way, the children can invest effort into developing their passions and writing their own story of success, despite their loss. They learn the importance of staying sufficiently focused and determined to follow through and accomplish goals, building resilience and a foundation of confidence.
Interactions with coaches or instructors foster relationships of respect and trust with supportive adults (Witt & Caldwell, 2018, p.1). Angel children have lost their parent, one of their most important mentoring relationships. By having these new mentors, children have a strong advocate to cope with the loss.