MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – It’s very early on a Tuesday morning. After a chilly start to this October 22nd, the normal fall heat is rising back up on the Alabama coast. Like most nights, I got little to no sleep the night before. Already up and wide awake, I roll out of bed and head to the local Planet Fitness. This morning I will see if I can pull off 22 push-ups. It’s not just for fitness: It’s to help spread the word about a big problem. Fortunately my lack of sleep isn’t caused by some deep trauma. I just don’t sleep well.
That’s not the case for many of our veteran heroes. They lose sleep, time with their family, and sometimes their lives because of the trauma they suffered in combat. Ironically, it’s often just as hard to come home and readjust to life as it is to fight for their lives on the battlefield.
The 22 push-up challenge went viral a while back. Celebrities posted videos of themselves doing 22 push-ups to raise awareness. But the effort continues to draw attention to startling statistic that 22 of our veterans and active-duty members commit suicide each day.
Some try to do 22 push-ups on the 22nd of the month. Others do push-ups for 22 days straight. But the idea is the same, draw attention to the problems facing our veterans and active service members.
Bikers and veterans are closely connected. And bikers are among those rallying for the cause. Even Harley Davidson of Pensacola has a monthly 22 push-ups challenge. Attempt 22 push-ups on the 22nd of each month to get a 22 percent discount on some merchandise.
As we approach Veterans Day, WKRG News 5 is doing a month-long series called Veterans Voices. And this morning, the 22nd of October, I hit the floor at the gym and gave it the old college try. I’m not sure my push-ups would pass muster in boot camp, but I did manage to grind out 22 of them.
I’ll continue to challenge myself to do the push-ups and think of our veterans and help spread the word. And while we’re at it, here are a few local and national resources that could use your help too when it comes to helping our veterans.
Please be careful out there, and follow me on social media:
Chris Best is the News Director for WKRG. He’s a husband and father of four. He’s also a motorcycle enthusiast.