President, Corps Fitness
Chris Kaag was born September 11th, 1976 in Cherry Point, NC. He led a normal childhood, bouncing around the Eastern US and Reading, PA area with his family before they settled in Canton, OH. Upon graduating high school, Chris followed in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and uncle before him and joined the US Marine Corps at the age of 17.
While in boot camp, Chris learned several valuable lessons that would shape him as a young man and in the years to come, including one very special lesson from his drill instructor. During a group cadence run in boot camp, Chris’ drill instructor, Dave Hart, uttered five words that continue to echo in Chris’ head during his most difficult times: “Don’t quit on me, Kaag.” That former DI is now a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps, and in 2010 Chris had the good fortune of thanking him personally for changing his life in such a positive way. In return, Lt Col Hart had only the highest praise for Chris, saying that he was truly one of the best and he knew he would have gone far if he had been able to stay in the USMC.
Chris had aspirations of being a USMC Drill Instructor himself, but during his second tour in Aviano, Italy in 1997, a duty-related concussion led to the onset of a rare genetic neuro-degenerative condition and his career was cut short. After several weeks at Walter Reed Medical Center, Chris was diagnosed with Adrenomyeloneuropathy, and soon after, he was medically retired from the Marine Corps, holding the rank of Sergeant.
Upon receiving his diagnoses, Chris had a decision to make. Either give up and let his condition control his life or dig deep and push on. Chris chose the latter.
Upon his retirement from the USMC, Chris graduated with a business degree from Penn State University and started his own company Corps Fitness, receiving its namesake from his father, Tom, who passed away in 2012. Persevering towards his aspirations of being a USMC drill instructor, Chris started Corps Fitness in 2004 out of the back of his truck using little other than his Marine Corps experience and mental toughness.
In 2007 Chris established the non-profit, IM ABLE Foundation. The Foundation was created to build and support active lifestyles for individuals with disabilities. IM ABLE’s goal is to help all individuals realize the potential to go further and push harder then their preconceived limits, because once this potential is realized the possibilities are endless.
Through his choice to view his own disability as a personal stepping-stone and not as a crutch, Chris hopes to motivate others, both disabled and able-bodied, to redefine the way they view their own personal challenges. We all have obstacles, but it is up to the individual to take that next step.
Contact Chris at: email@example.com