A huge group of students, faculty and staff converged at Memorial Plaza on the Campus of Weatherford College - (WC), recently in a heartfelt show of support.
On Wednesday, those that gathered, helped kick start the "22Kill campaign" locally, in hopes to bring greater awareness to veteran’s suicide. Those in attendance participated in the movement’s signature "push-ups," in a show of support.
However, organizers adopted the motto, ‘Stay in the Fight,’ separating themselves from the national campaign, and reaching out to everyone; to keep pushing through any difficulties someone may be having in life.
“‘Stay in the Fight’ adheres too many who may be struggling internally and unlikely to reach out for help," said Scott Butler, one of many who helped organize the event. "We encourage anyone that is having a difficult time with anything mental health related to seek help."
Butler, a Marine veteran and president of colleges’ student government, and of the WC veteran’s organization, said statistics show 22 veterans commit suicide each day.
"We want to change the narrative on how mental health issues among veterans are perceived," Butler said.
So, to "Stay in the Fight," and to show action and substance, Butler said the group will be counting down from 22 push-ups.
"We will be doing one less push-up than the previous day until Veteran’s Day when we will reach zero, our goal of zero veteran’s committing suicide each day," Butler said.
"I was inspired and motivated by the support from everyone. October 5th was the start of our countdown and to have had that much involvement already is encouraging. We hope this becomes bigger as each day passes and that ultimately we are able to make a difference."
Ralph Willingham, WC director of admissions/veteran’s coordinator, said he thought the ceremony was "great."
"This is awareness that these people count," Willingham said. "That we need to be very much aware of the very people next to us in our neighborhoods. Just a kind word, reaching out; it’s the little things can possibly turn someone around."
Push-ups will be Monday-Thursday at 10:45; main days for classes on campus. The public is invited to attend.