Veterans Participating in 2k Burpees Challenge to Raise Awareness for Service Members Taking Their Own Lives

by Michael Freeman
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With studies saying almost 20 military service members commit suicide every day, it’s an issue that necessitates further attention. Recognizing this, two veterans in Johnson City, Tennessee decided to promote the 2,000 burpee challenge for all of August.

The challenge is exactly what the name suggests: participants must perform 2,000 burpees before the end of the month. A burpee is a variation of the “up-down” exercise frequently seen in football. To do one, your body goes to the ground, your chest hits the floor, and the movement ends by jumping with your arms over your head. Think of it as a kind of push-up into a leap with your hands in the air.

At a Johnson City CrossFit gym, 35 members joined the challenge, with two being U.S. Army veterans. Thomas Young is one of them, serving in Desert Storm from 1988 until 1992. Young provides statistics for veterans committing suicide, as well as saying the issue is a personal one.

“Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide. That’s roughly one every 65 minutes. The main reason to do this is to bring awareness to that. This thing really means a lot to me. There’s a way for me to pay tribute to all the soldiers that I served with and the ones that served after me and before.”

Army Veteran Jeff Price lost a fellow service member to suicide in 2012. He stresses you never know what someone is going through and how difficult it is to understand.

“This guy, I would never have – {of} all the people I knew – I would never ever thought that he would be somebody who would do that. So, it really struck home to me that we don’t understand what they’re going through.”

To support the cause, you can donate on the official website.

Service Dogs Can Partner With Veterans Who Have PTSD Thanks To New Government Program

Service members returning home with PTSD is a much larger problem than people might suspect. Because of this, Congress is hoping to help by passing a bipartisan bill called the Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members for Veterans Therapy Act.

This will allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to collaborate with groups like K9s for Warriors, much to the delight of Rory Diamond, CEO of the organization.

“We’re incredibly good at keeping them alive,” Diamond says. “So why wouldn’t the VA want to be part of that?”

Lu Picard, the co-founder of ECAD, an organization that trains service dogs, thinks the same. “Once they feel comfortable knowing the dog is there, the veterans can be freer. The dogs can wake them up from night terrors, pull them out of negative flashbacks. And they know that with the dog, they’re never alone or a burden to any other human being. That’s a big deal.”

With all the good our veterans do for our country, they deserve all the help they can get.

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