CARMEL – Megan Castellano, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Putnam County, John Bourges, coordinator of the Vet2Vet initiative, Karl Rohde, director of Veterans Affairs, Peter Pastore and Keith Cebollero, the new owners of CrossFit beamed when dozens of men, women and children raised awareness regarding the 22 veterans who die each day by taking their own lives as Putnam’s first annual Sweat for Vets was described as a huge success.
The recent workout consisting of 22 separate exercises with 22 reps in each exercise took 22 minutes to complete signifying the 22 veterans who commit suicide each and every day of the year.
Bourges said suicide was “everyone’s business whether a veteran, first responder or man on the street. Our event was held to increase resources while letting our vets know that we are here for them.”
One woman who identified herself as Sally said she was horrified by the number of veterans who take their own lives each day. “We have to help them by letting our veterans know that help is only a phone call away. Twenty-two brave lives lost each day is a terribly tragic statistic.”
Bourges reminded the public that the Vet2Vet initiative’s entire focus is for “someone in need to be able to reach out to another person who realizes and understands what the individual is going through. We want our community to know that there is always someone you can call.”
The county’s First Line assistance number to call is 845-745-0088 while the Vet’s Warm Line is 914-519-8097.
While the theme of the workout was serious, Rohde’s tee-shirt brought some levity to the event. It read: “Exercise! I thought you said Extra Fries!”