Crab Cake Row: Helping veterans heal and saving lives with Catch A Lift and Jess Drew

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Helping veterans heal and saving lives with Catch A Lift and Jess Drew at Pappas in Cockeysville on “A Cup Of Soup Or Bowl Week” for the Maryland Food Bank.


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Jessica Drew, Nestor J. Aparicio

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:00

For kids, so I went over and greeted. First off, you named your daughter after my mother. So I’m very appreciative of that. So I like her catch a lift is something that I’ve promoted a couple times and are your local in this area, right? You’re in a you’re headquartered here, but

Jessica Drew  00:14

nationwide, right, but

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:16

you’re in New York Road sort of corridor, right? Yes, York

Jessica Drew  00:19

Road to a 6x.

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:21


I knew this. So like, this is a real local thing. I think I may have done something to catch a lift, like at a real Super Bowl on radio row at some point, because I didn’t know you were a national organization talking about catching us all about.

Jessica Drew  00:33

Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for having us today. So catch a lift started in honor of my uncle Christopher Coughlin. Chris was a Baltimore native, went to Gilman High School. He then went to Washington and Lee played International Sports was a coach. And when 911 happened, he felt that it was his call to duty. It was never married, did not have a family, and he wanted to give his life and spare of someone back at home, that did have a family. And that’s exactly what he did. So shy of his 42nd birthday, which was at the time the cut off for the army, he enlisted, he was quickly recruited into special intelligence. And on his first deployment to Afghanistan, he was killed in action by a roadside bomb. So our family, you know, obviously that was that took that our family took that pretty hard. My aunt who is the president and founder of Katulad, catch a lift, Lynne Coughlin, she was Chris’s point person back at home, her brother. And so when our family found out the news, there was hundreds of people reaching out to us lots of messages, and there was this common theme around Chris’s impact on their life. And a lot of that had to do with Chris’s passion for mental and physical fitness. So that led us to down a road of thinking, Well, what if, what if he survived? What if he came home? What would that have looked like for him? So Lynn went down, and did tons of research down in Arlington, and at Walter Reed, and we discovered that were the VA provides wonderful and many services, there was a gap and there was a need for more more of a holistic approach. So we took Chris’s passion for fitness. And we said, well, what if we could somehow bring this holistic approach to combat injured veterans returning home. And so that’s exactly what we did. So fast forward to present day, we serve over 11,000 combat injured veterans, nationwide. And what we do is we we get them into an eight week program, where they’re paired up with a catalyst certified veteran coach that we have certified. The veteran has been in our program, they get paired one on one, they get coaching for eight weeks, they set goals, they have they’re held accountable to those goals. And then upon those eight weeks after graduating, then they’re granted either a facility membership of their choice, or in home gym equipment. From there, the program doesn’t stop once they’re in it, they have that lifelong connection with their coach. We have online proprietary dashboards to help them with an array of resources for them. We have motivational tech supports, we have educational opportunities, we have employment opportunities, and really, you know, it’s scientifically proven that PTSD, traumatic brain injury, all of that hangs out in the hippocampus. And when you become more active and you move your body, it can help alleviate those symptoms. And so we find that our veterans come in thinking that they’re going to work out and and get fit, but really, it’s it’s changing. It’s changing their mind. It’s changing their bodies, it’s connecting them with their community with their family, it’s giving them a sense of purpose again,

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:02

is this for any one who’s a military graduate or just for any one so

Jessica Drew  04:09

purchase specific were specific to post but to those that were injured in search post 911 injured, okay, combat injured, combat

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:17

injured, okay. I’ve had a lot of folks on it’s, it’s great to have you here because Superbowl week, which I did for 27 years, there was a group of folks that I befriended that would do a football game. It was it was for relatively veterans. They invited me they said that that I was it was quadriplegic, paraplegic. I’m missing a finger so they’re like, you can play too. And I’m like, well, thanks for letting me play. I caught a pass from Kurt Warner. So I thought that was kind of cool. But every year I would bring them on and talk about people coming back and look, this is true. I’ve been doing this for 30 years, the coming back from Afghanistan part for the last 15 years, there’s there have been people coming back who come back differently than when they leave. Right. And there are so many organizations that step in how long has your organization been doing this and and why York Road? And and I guess the national part of this that’s very ambitious I mean from a local organization or really a grassroots organization, as I understand it. Absolutely.

Jessica Drew  05:22

Yes. So we started in 2010. So we’re entering our 14th year of service. And we chose Timonium, because that’s where that’s where Chris’s roots were and where that began. So our family is based out of Baltimore, and that’s where Lin our president is. And so that’s, that’s where our headquarters is if someone

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:38

knows someone in this situation, or living with someone or related to someone that’s having this kind of trauma. And I would think there’s some people that may come back and do okay for a while, right. And this isn’t something that at any point, if you’ve served and you’ve been injured, and you’re there for them, right? I mean,

Jessica Drew  05:57


absolutely, if there’s anyone in need, they can reach out to us directly from our website, they contact us, we hook them up right away with a coach in our program, a veteran would reach out to them instantly, you know, help them get the resources that they need. I

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:13

had another veteran organization on this week, and I want a little bit of a rampage. I’m not going to do that with you. But my father in law’s Vietnam that right and, and I think he my father was very healthy, awesome, incredible in his 70s. And, and I admire that in an amazing way. But the VA and the things they do and don’t do, and you had kind words for the VA, I’ve heard other unkind words from other places that that organizations like yours exist. It’s an indictment on the government. It’s an indictment on not them not doing enough, because I think when people sign up, and I’ve never signed up to go defend this country and be a part of that. I feel like we could do more as a country, not society, you all are doing it. But I feel like there’s there’s really a gap and where is that gap? What? Who comes to you that the VA didn’t help or can’t help or is overloaded or as an appointment down the line? That’s really what that’s the gap. You’re filling in a lot of ways, right?

Jessica Drew  07:14

Absolutely. And, you know, it’s when we think about all the freedoms that we have, we get to be here today, right? And it wouldn’t be because of those that served and defended our freedom, no question about and we often were everyday, we’re blown away, because it’s easy. Now that the war is over. It’s easy to forget about the war. However, last year alone, we had over 800 new veterans come into the program. That’s 800 veterans that reached out that said that they need help. So to me, that shows that that the need is still there, to PTSD, and post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury that doesn’t go away. That’s a life long injury and we are committed and determined to helping them he’ll holistically give

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:02

me a huge success story. No names involved, but I mean, tell me about someone that you saw come in in a bad way. And if they walked in the door pap is right now you’d know they’re doing better. Oh,

Jessica Drew  08:12

absolutely. So we had a veteran join the program, double amputee, this was probably seven years ago, came in in a dark place. He got hooked up and instantly with another veteran and they did coaching they did you know all sorts of things to help him get to a better place. Fast forward. He is now he’s won Invictus Games. He is now one of our head coaches for adaptive athletes. Just I could go on and on. So I

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:40

played this football game with these cats out in LA two years ago. And they had been for years, they would always come on the show. They’d always invite me out to Snoop Dogg snips games, dogs game, every year they invited me and every year was like at some high school 30 minutes away and I’m on radio row and I’m working on like, just two times a night today. And finally in LA they’re like you’re gonna you’re gonna be they may be MC it so they dragged me out and they gave me the amputee they’re like you’re an amputee, you know, so they gave me all of that. And I it was one of the more inspiring that you know, I’ll get emotional talking about it cuz it was just like, it was it was it was incredible, you know, and the guys were playing but there was one dude with no legs only he’s only upper body and he did everything on his arms. And he moved faster than anybody can run. I believe it was just an unbelievable human to experience so makes I don’t wish I were at the Super Bowl this year. But those are the kinds of people I would talk to instead of talking to you changing bodies healing mind saving law. She thought I was checking my email, just go to the website, check to catch a lift Um, you have a bunch of events and I’m looking on here I’m seeing in New York benefit of Northern Virginia benefit Chicago golf outing. Baltimore community workout I see it right. Is this your Dare I say? Big game. I don’t want to you stuff in Roger Goodell or anything like that I’ll be Hollywood casino for the big game on Sunday. But is your big event the end of September here locally?

Jessica Drew  10:06

You know all of our eight events are big right? i If I had to say my favorite my favorite is the workout in Baltimore. Right that’s that’s what we do. Valley one like cannot say enough good things about the team at one life. They they helped us put on a phenomenal event last year. So but yes, we’ll be in Northern Virginia at the Capital One Hall on April 23. That’s gorgeous facility. That’s a dinner.

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:32


Most Wanted to see Richard marks Rick Springfield and I haven’t been there yet. It’s brand

Jessica Drew  10:36

new in Africa. They catch a live event. Yes. And so that and then other the other local event, the workout and then our golf outing, which is very popular, it’s normally sells out almost immediately.

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:46

And the golf event is the 30th. So it’s a whole weekend, a whole weekend. September 29, nine to 11 It’s a morning event community workout. That’s September to nine and one Life Fitness in Hunt Valley. Then the next day shotgun start Country Club in Maryland him straight on the 30th of September. I hope you get good weather that

Jessica Drew  11:06

day. It’s always it’s always a great day, catch


Nestor J. Aparicio  11:08

a lift How else can people help you other than these events and participate?

Jessica Drew  11:14

So we have local volunteer opportunities for individuals for companies, teams, high school students looking for service learning opportunities so they can reach out directly on the website and we’ll get them connected.

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:26

All right. It’s all available for you at catch a lift children’s so well behaved. You got to take credit for that. Yes, absolutely. All right. You because you’re working hard on Exactly. Just through us here. We appreciate her appreciate everybody coming out. I’ve got folks lined up the Red Devils is going to be here my dude. Danny growl is going to be here with his pop Fred. We’re going to talk about Special Olympics and he didn’t look like he’s super plunged. He looks like he’s the I wouldn’t look as good as you if I got into water. 24 times in 24 hours freezing. That’s

Jessica Drew  11:58


impressive. I don’t you know a cold plunge is all the rage now a lot of

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:03

you know my people are from the equator. I always say that man i i Get in Ocean City in the middle of summer. I can’t get in the water. It’s great. You know, for me, I see these guys running in running out. Danny’s loading up on the spaghetti out here. So we’re gonna have him on from Special Olympics. Thank you very, very much. Yeah. Real. I love it. Right. Yeah. So

Jessica Drew  12:22

that’s what Chris would always say so that we tag that. Keep it real. Yeah, we

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:26

get red, white and blue. You gotta love it. Well, I’m a patriot too, but, but I’m wearing orange. I’m an Oreo Patriot today. So I’m wearing the orange shirt all week. And I knew it was gonna be sitting under the Adley rutschman jersey and the gunner Henderson. These murals are unbelievable. They’re made with beer. Gorgeous. I mean, they’re just there’s a raven one and an Oreo one. They’re two of the greatest pieces of artwork. Just in windows here. I see him for Pappas. Do you know the crab cakes? You’re gonna be good because Justin’s here today keeping keep an eye on things. Chuck. We really appreciate the Pappas folks out here. Cockeysville for taking great care of us hosting us and making really good French fries for gestures kids here for ketchup fond. I am Esther. We’re gonna come back. We’re doing it for the Maryland Food Bank. Come on by we got lottery tickets in the Maryland lottery for you. We are doing all of this for the Maryland food bank. You bring canned goods, dry goods, and we’re going to keep them here locally. We’re going to be doing that for 40 this afternoon. I haven’t cried 30 minutes we’re doing all right. I’m back for more here at Pappus it is our 37th of a 40 hour marathon called crabcake row. A cup of Super Bowl. You bring good stuff. We give you a cup of Super Bowl come on at the Pappas and coffee spill.

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