We noted back in September how John Cena appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to call on fans to help donate to FitOps, which helps military veterans find stability, success and community through fitness, and then pledged to match those donations through Veterans Day, up to $1 million.
Cena took to Twitter yesterday, on Veterans Day, to announce that the donations did reach the $1 million milestone in just a little over a month. This means that $2 million in total will be donated after Cena's matching gift. You can see Cena's Twitter video below. Cena thanked fans for donating to help FitOps, which assists veterans in achieving personal trainer certification, and also wished all vets a happy Veterans Day. Cena said he was honored and humbled to announce that the goal was met.
Cena also spoke with Sports Illustrated about his partnership with FitOps. Cena said he was affected by the number of veterans who are committing suicide every day.
"I was hit pretty hard by the hard data about veterans committing suicide," Cena said. "These are people I look up to and respect, and to learn that nearly 20 veterans a day are killing themselves, that means the system is lacking in some way. It's not a flattering conversation, but it needs to be out in the open so we can address the issue."
He continued, "When I was hit with that information, especially concerning vets aged 30 and younger killing themselves, my immediate goal was to help. For me, it's important to let the people in the armed services know they stand above politics. They demand my respect. They're my heroes, and that's why I'm taking action with FitOps."
"I was upset that I wasn't doing all that I could to help, so I started using my presence to send this message out. Then I went to the FitOps camp to try to impact one person. And I still didn't think I was doing enough, so now I'm using my resources."
A big part of FitOps is rebuilding the sense of community and purpose that a lot of veterans lose when returning to civilian life. Cena said he can somewhat relate to that with his own experience away from WWE. Cena admitted he still misses WWE.
"I can vaguely relate with my own experience away from WWE," Cena said. "I'm so grateful to be doing some amazing things right now, but I still miss WWE and still ask myself, 'Who am I?' when I am not active with WWE. My identity was so closely tied to WWE for so long. So, even if it's apples to oranges, I can understand that sense of fraternity in the military. That's why I am so passionate about FitOps. It's a way to remind veterans that they are valuable, that they have a purpose. And they have that community. That is really important in our battle against that number 20, doing everything we can to bring it lower."
We recently noted at this link that Randy Orton took to Instagram and issued a WrestleMania 36 challenge to Cena, something he also did for The Rock recently. Cena said he wasn't aware of Orton's Instagram post, but he doesn't plan on missing the Grandest Stage of Them All in 2020.
"I wasn't even aware of that," Cena said of Orton's challenge. "I never make the matches, I'm just grateful to be able to perform in WWE. Every day away from it, I miss it more and more and more. I'm becoming more honest with myself about how much I miss it. I'm very eager to get back into a WWE ring soon.
"And on the subject of WrestleMania, I can tell you this—I haven't missed a WrestleMania since my first appearance at WrestleMania 19, and I do not plan to miss a WrestleMania for decades to come."
You can see Cena's video on the FitOps donation below: