A few years ago, an alarming study was published which suggested that an average of 22 veterans kill themselves every day.
Several reasons were posed as to the causes, among them were the long-lasting results of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a psychological disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, or other serious threats to a person’s life. The study indicated that veterans of war were more likely to suffer from this condition because of the repeated instances of violence they endured during their time on the battlefield. In an attempt to bring national awareness to this continuing epidemic, the #22KILL Challenge was formed.
Like the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, aka, Lou Gehrig Disease) Ice Bucket Challenge before it, the #22KILL campaign started slowly and then exploded. Today, #22KILL is a global movement created by veterans with a mission to: Honor those who serve(d), raise awareness to veteran suicide and mental health issues such as PTSD; educate the public about current veteran-related topics and issues and recruit veteran advocates, aka “Battle Buddies.”
The “challenge” is to get as many people as possible to publicize the act of doing 22 pushups for the cause. The goal is to get at least 22 million people to do 22 pushups. Those who do so will be awarded the “Honor Ring,” which is a black band worn on the index finger of the right hand, the “salute hand,” as a silent salute to all veterans, past and present.
The ring is a symbol of respect and simply says that you support those who have served our country. This support can extend even beyond the military to include police, firefighters and EMS. As a part of the #22KILL community, the ring is also a reminder to all veterans and veteran supporters that they are never alone; that they are all family.
On Thursday, June 9, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in Flower Mound held another 22Kill event as residents from around the area did their part to bring awareness to the cause. Among the participants were Texas State Rep. Tan Parker, Dabney Bassel, attorney and recent candidate for the Second Court of Appeals, Kevin Bryant, Flower Mound Councilman, Ken Hodge, local custom home developer, Kathy Duke, former LISD Trustee, Master Chief Don Shields and my favorite videographer, Annette Weir.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor.