#22KILL pushing for vets

By: Tehya Tournier

Suicide rates among veterans have gone up since 2007 according to Veteransandpstd.com. With 5,000-8,000 committing suicide after coming home from the war, that means 22 veterans are committing suicide each day.

According to RAND, 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have post traumatic stress disorder, and over 50 percent don’t seek treatment.

#22KILL is a worldwide movement created by veterans for those who are serving in the military or who have served in the military to educate everyone about current issues relating veterans and raise awareness of veterans suffering from PTSD, depression, suicide and other issues.

Co-Founder of Alive&Running Troy Belmer said he hasn’t known any veterans personally that have committed suicide but does realize it happens in the Cedar Valley.

Belmer and his brother Tom and many others around the world as well as in the community are involved with the 22 push up challenge.

The 22 pushup challenge is a continuing challenge throughout 22 days, you can nominate people to do 22 push ups that help bring awareness about soldiers committing suicide.

“It represents the fact that 22 veterans commit suicide every single day. The push ups are just being done as a way to bring awareness to the fact that we need more programs in place to help these veterans. Especially after they’ve been deployed,” Belmer said.

Belmer also said he would love to get some recognition and something going with Alive&Running to help with this generous cause.

Suicide rates are higher than regular citizens, and 22KILL is bringing their mission and challenging everyone while teaching others about what goes on after returning home from war.

“This challenge is different because it’s repeated for 22 days. Most challenges are just one day, and you forget about it. This forces me to remember the cause every day,” Belmer said.

Belmer shared just a few of the many veterans and others scattered around Iowa who have been involved with the 22 push up challenge: veteran Nick Rossin from Cedar Rapids, Waterloo Police Officer Spencer Gann, Dawn Peterson, Tom Belmer and veteran Done Cole from Jesup.

The website www.22KILL.com posts videos of the 22 push ups people around the globe are doing, and it has a lot of background information for how to donate.

“I feel our veterans need a lot more care after returning home from deployment. In many cases, these young 18 to 22-year-old men and women see and experience things we can’t even begin to imagine,” Belmer said.

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