Members of the Freedom Training Center walk a mile during a fundraising event

By Daniel Warn / [email protected]

More than 50 people took to the Yelm High School track on Saturday, Jan. 22, to walk a mile in support of the Freedom Training Center in an event to raise money for the business, which was destroyed in a fire.

The Freedom Training Center gymnasium and two other businesses were destroyed in a large commercial fire at the Nisqually Plaza Mall in the 900 block of Yelm Avenue East on December 22.

Melanie Medlock, co-owner of the Freedom Training Center, was among those who participated as she strolled the track with Yelm Mayor Joe DePinto.

Medlock said all the support was “awesome” but “challenging at the same time”.

She said part of the reason it was hard to be there was because she didn’t have the answers yet as to what the future holds for the gym.

“We don’t have any plans at this time,” Medlock said. “We’re just trying to get through it with the insurance and all that right now. But it’s absolutely amazing – the support and the prayers and just the people who just want to be here.

She said the fire was “devastating”.

“All my life, all my dreams (and) my goals, everything I’ve dedicated my whole life to (is gone),” Medlock said. “You don’t wish that on anyone, ever. You know, it’s hard. I mean, I physically sat there and watched every thing burn and explode in front of my eyes, so while you’re sitting there you think about how each person had an impact.

She said that while some people may say Freedom Training Center was just a gym, it meant so much more to many of its members.

“It’s a place for so many people for healing and transformation and a place (where) they can relieve stress,” Medlock said. “There’s so much going on in the world right now, so it’s really hard to have an outlet, and that’s what it was.”

Last I heard from Medlock, the cause of the fire was still under investigation, so she said she’s “not entirely sure of the outcome” of the investigation into the origin of the fire. the fire.

Area resident Autumn Manning became emotional when she spoke about the fire to the Nisqually Valley News, saying she cried when she heard the news of the gymnasium being destroyed.

“I came here today to support the Freedom Training Center, because most of the time I’ve been with them for about two and a half, three years,” Manning said. “(I love) their support for veterans and first responders, especially injured veterans.”

Manning said she is “100% dedicated” to the gym if and when it reopens.

“I mean, I would do just about anything for this gym (because of) everything they do to support and help everyone,” Manning said. “Any of the owners would do absolutely anything if one of their members got into trouble of any kind.”

She said the gym staff helped her with things ranging from physical disabilities to emotional struggles, giving her lots of help with the latter.

Bailey Yeagley and her father Shane Yeagley also showed their support at the gym.

“I always came to the gym and trained with my dad,” Bailey Yeagley said. “The people are great. … It was just a really good community gym.

Shane Yeagley said the place was part of his family’s life and an important part of his daily ritual.

“It’s really sad to see it disappear and be taken so quickly, overnight, really,” Shane Yeagley said. “We are adapting and just trying to support the community in any way we can as they recover, hopefully keeping their local roots and pushing until the next start for the new Freedom Training Center.”

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