Families train to support veterans with mental illness
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) – Families made it to Sibley Park on Saturday, but the push-up and jumping jacks series wasn’t just average workout. It was a fight against mental illness.
âWe’re looking to really promote veteran mental health and raise awareness about the suicide rate among veterans,â said Ashley Kuepmer, co-owner of Fit and Grit Training.
Fit and Grit hosted their very first 22 Degrees event in support of Mission 22 Mankato, which helps veterans dealing with PTSD and other mental illnesses.
âIt really takes a village to fight not just suicide, but mental health in general,â added Loren Files, Minnesota head of state for Mission 22.
22 symbolizes the average number of servicemen who commit suicide each day in the United States.
Ashley said, “It’s ridiculously high, and there are a lot of issues with the mental health of veterans and getting the services they need.”
Fit and Grit co-owner Matt Kuemper knows firsthand the importance of helping veterans through tough times.
Matt said, âI am a veteran myself. Regardless of how we might use our business to give back, we’ve always looked for things we can do.
Fit and Grit runs weekly workouts at the base of Sibley Luge Hill, but 22 Degrees was way beyond its usual 45-minute session.
Families danced to a DJ, had lunch in a food truck, and visited kiosks with resources from partner organizations.
âTo see the whole community getting involved and caring about this cause is just fantastic,â Files said.
Fit and Grit hopes to make 22 Degrees an annual event.
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