On Saturday 26 April 2014, The Summit Project was represented at The Zimmerman Memorial Fitness Challenge, which was kicked off on Saturday with a series of physical drills designed to test the mettle of its participants. The challenge was created in memoriam of 1st Lt. James Zimmerman, a former University of Maine ROTC member and Marine who was killed in combat in Afghanistan on Nov. 2, 2010. The event was conceived by ROTC students at UMaine as a memorial to Zimmerman in 2011, who was known for his aptitude and intense physical training. “This is all student-run,” said Capt. Thomas Buterbaugh, the commanding officer for UMaine’s ROTC program, of the event. “They came up with this idea last year; they’re responsible for all of it.” The challenge itself consisted of several events designed to test the physical and mental discipline of the participants. The tests were comprised of four-person teams that could choose from three fitness levels: family, motivated and hardcore. “It’s bittersweet, of course,” said Thomas Zimmerman, 1st Lt. Zimmerman’s father. “It doesn’t fill the void in your heart, but it does for a while.” The event, according to Thomas, is a good fit for his son’s personality. “He loved this stuff,” Thomas said. “I love to see young men get together to do something like this. The military does what it says it does. It honors its own.” That message wasn’t lost on any members of the Zimmerman family, who were appreciative of the efforts. “The anticipation was difficult, as it was with all the events for James,” said Jane Zimmerman, 1st Lt. Zimmerman’s mother. “We are so appreciative to see all the T-shirts with his name on them. I feel like James is really being honored and appreciated.” “There’s not a lot of words that can express what parents feel, so we just say, ‘Thank you,’” she said.
The Summit Project Team for the ZFC consisted of Ted Coffin, Mike O’Brien, Aaron Brown, and Marius Benekeraitis