MILWAUKEE — According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 22 veterans die by suicide every day. An organization with more than 500 locations, including a location in Milwaukee, is looking to change that.
Lift for the 22, Milwaukee, managed by veteran Dan Newberry, exists so no veteran has to struggle getting reaqcuainted to civilian life. According to the organization, "Upon exiting the service, Newberry found himself struggling with PTSD, depression, and Suicidal thoughts which ultimately led to him hitting rock bottom in July of 2015. Dan then turned to the Milwaukee VA for help. As things started to get better, in December of 2015 Dan's brother took his life."
Since these tragic events Dan has become an advocate for those struggling with mental health issues. Dan founded 22fitness, a free fitness class that hosts community fundraising workouts for veteran nonprofits across the country. The concept of the class was to help encourage veterans to continue exercising post military service".
Fast forward to January of 2019, Newberry was named Executive Director of Lift For the 22. Through the first year and leading into 2020 the program has added alternative forms of fitness like martial arts, yoga, and CrossFit.
Thanks to a donation on Feb. 11 from the Partriot Motorcycle Club, the gym services are able to continue being offered to veterans at no charge.
In response to this donation Newberry said, "Their contribution, and the contributions of others within our community makes it possible for Lift For the 22 to offer an interactive fitness class and networking opportunity not only to veterans, but to other looking to improve their lives through physical fitness. This program is also available to first responders and we encourage members of the community to come out and visit fuel fitness to learn more about how they too can get involved."
To learn more about Lift For the 22 and to donate to their cause, click here.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please know there is help available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7, for free and confidential support for people in distress. They can be reached at: 1-800-273-8255 or click here.