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Going the distance for veterans 

Three veterans have come together to create an event that will help raise awareness for veteran mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress and suicide. All three have lost a loved one due to the pressures of returning home from war, whether it be because of suicide or drug overdose. With such a personal tie to the issue, Matt Reid and Daniel Pitocco, Marine veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Kat Roach, a Navy veteran, decided to take action; Mind Over Matter was born. The event will help raise money for charities that assist veterans.

click to enlarge FIGHTING FOR THEIR FUTURE :  Kat Roach (left), Daniel Pitocco (center), and Matt Reid (right) are banding together to help veterans overcome mental health issues. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • FIGHTING FOR THEIR FUTURE : Kat Roach (left), Daniel Pitocco (center), and Matt Reid (right) are banding together to help veterans overcome mental health issues.

“We felt that we needed to do something to show other veterans out there that are suffering that they’re not alone and that there is hope,” Reid said. “Taking your own life is not the answer.”

They will be holding a spin-a-thon on Nov. 11 at Fitness Works, a gym in Morro Bay. Until the day of the event, participants can pick up a pledge packet from the gym and raise money by getting donations for each mile they complete, or asking for a flat-rate donation. Participants can then sign up for 30-minute or 60-minute spin classes during an 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. window. It costs $10 to hold a seat in the class if reserved prior to the event, and $20 on the day of the event.

“They can sign up for however many as they want, but it is $10 per seat, so if they do three classes, it’s $30,” Roach said.

Spin classes aren’t the only way people can track their mileage to raise money. They can also exercise on a machine of choice, a treadmill perhaps, and track mileage that way. The top earner at Mind Over Matter will receive a free ticket to an event to be held on Market Street later that day, benefiting the Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation. The winner will also be recognized on stage by three-time UFC Champion Randy Couture. People who raise more than $500 will also receive a free ticket to the event.

A silent and a 50/50 auction will take place, along with cash prizes and giveaways from local businesses.

The money raised will be distributed to two different nonprofits: AmpSurf and Veterans Express. AmpSurf operates in Pismo Beach, with a mission to help disabled veterans by taking them into the water to teach them how to surf. Reid believes this organization “shows [veterans] that they are still capable of accomplishing great feats.”

Veterans Express is a local shuttle service that picks up veterans and takes them to appointments, as well as anywhere within the community, and brings them back to their front door for a minimal fee.

“We wanted to choose charities this year that were local. We wanted to know where the money is going that we collect, and that it is actually serving our community. There’s a lot of great programs out there, but we wanted to start out local for the first year,” Roach said.

The event will start at 10 a.m. with a welcoming ceremony, including the National Anthem and a speech from Morro Bay City Council member George Leage. The organizers are hoping to have a color guard present. During that hour, veterans are encouraged to wear their uniforms. In addition to Mind Over Matter, Fitness Works is opening its door that day to the community and waiving the typical $12 day-use fee. Fitness Works is also donating its staff to help run the event. Pitocco said they have been “very supportive.”

The event will be held at 500 Quintana Road, Morro Bay. Kat Roach can be contacted at for any questions about Mind Over Matter.

Fast facts

There will be a Third Annual Waste Vegetable Oil Recycling Event, and people are encouraged to bring their household waste vegetable oil so it can be recycled into biodiesel. Morin Brother Automotive (4090 Broad St.) and Pacific Auto Service, Inc. (1071 Los Osos Valley Road) will be accepting used vegetable oil from noon to 3 p.m. …

Surfing For Hope is an event that will offer a benefit dinner and longboard surfing contest over a two-day period in honor of cancer survivors on Nov. 9 and 10. Tickets to the luau-themed dinner, held at Avila Beach Golf Resort, are $100, and entry fees to the longboard surf contest range from $60 to $80, and will take place from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The proceeds raised from Surfing For Hope will benefit the Hearst Cancer Resource Center at French Hospital Medical Center, as well as the Angel of Hope fund.

Intern Tayler Duprel compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send your business news to

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