Push-ups for war veterans


Suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder affect many war veterans.

If you like social media challenges and support American soldiers, you might like to consider the #‎22pushupchallenge‬, an effort to raise awareness about war veteran issues.

The campaign is asking people to do 22 push-ups every day for 22 days, capturing them on video, and uploading them to the web’s social networks. There is a reason for that number. An average of 22 veterans commit suicide every day, according to a report by the Veterans Affairs Department.

School principal Christian Quintero does his push-ups.

School principal Christian Quintero does his push-ups.


The #22pushupchallenge is spreading fast, with thousands of people inviting their friends via social media. In Southern California, Los Angeles school principal Christian Quintero was challenged by a friend from Alhambra. “Every day, 22 of our vets take their own lives due to post traumatic stress. This is simply unacceptable. So to raise awareness, I will do 22 push-ups every day for 22 days,” posted Quintero on his Facebook page. “I’ve been tagged by Mr. Joseph Haggerty and accepted the challenge! Bringing awareness to the cause is well worth it my friends!” His first day’s posted video show him performing pushups at his residence.

Teacher David Brown joined the #22pushupchallenge.

Teacher David Brown joined the #22pushupchallenge.

Quintero’s 22-day effort has turned into a sort of family and workplace affair. His young twin children, Karl and Sean, joined him for day three and can be seen on a video doing push-ups along with dad. Also, at his campus of the Los Angeles School of Global Studies, the principal challenged his colleague David Brown, who teaches digital media and animation. The instructor accepted the invitation. “Bringing awareness to the cause is well worth it my friends!” states Brown on a post on his Facebook page. He video recorded his first day’s push-ups in his classroom after class.

Other platforms used for this challenge are Instagram, Twitter and Youtube.

The push-up challenge is organized by the nonprofit 22KILL, which aims at rising awareness about mental health issues amongst veterans. Although the organization’s moniker may seem blunt, there is a story behind it. Among the Marines, the term “kill” has multiple meanings, according to the organization’s website. “While running towards anything from the chow hall to formation, to attacking a hill, Marines may yell out, “Kill!” states one of various explanations. “It basically means whatever the situation calls for.  Amongst Marines, it’s a term of endearment.”

“The name “22KILL” is meant to grab people’s attention, because our primary mission begins with raising awareness to the issue,” according to 22KILL’s website. “Suicide prevention is a very difficult task to undertake, especially when the general public is unaware of the issue in the first place.”

#22pushups hopes to get a good number of Americans involved. 22KILL’s goal?  Tewnty-two million push-ups.

For more information visit www.22kill.com/22-honor-pushups.


Author: Cesar Arredondo

Journalist with more than 20 years of experience working for English- and Spanish-language and bilingual news outlets. Winner of three Best of the West Journalism Awards and a recognition from the National Association of Hispanic Publications.

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