As Kelly mentioned yesterday, we love our Veterans – local vets, United States Vets, all Vets. So when Heart of Florida United Way challenged me to the Mission United Push-up Challenge, I had to accept.
Giving $20 is the easy part for most people, and anyone who’s able could (and SHOULD!) do that, no problem. The other part of the #20or20 challenge was a little bit more challenging. Twenty push-ups. Non stop, no breaks. Probably not as painful as it sounds.
I can’t tell you the last time I did a pushup, let alone twenty in a row. (Sad, I know.) If my laughable efforts in doing twenty pushups can raise awareness or even $20 to help make a Vet’s life a little easier, then it’s the least I can do for them. THIS was the challenge for me, or so I thought. Our veterans (and their families) voluntarily give up so much for our freedom and are not given due credit – or a break – when they return home. This definitely needs to change and NOW.
I’m totally out of shape but still, arguably, strong and… youngish. To hold myself accountable I decided to take the Push-up Challenge even further and tripled the challenge;
- Do said push-up challenge in the middle of your driveway where all of your neighbors – who are mostly gone at this time of the afternoon – are ALL conveniently home and ALL outside. With their kids. And their dogs.
- Dedicate each push-up to Veteran. Twenty Push-ups, Twenty Veterans.
Number Two was more of a challenge than I thought initially. I mean, I know a bunch of Veterans including two of our Central Florida Top 5 writers and contributors, Nando Torres and Gerald Clark, but for some reason I blanked after nine?
So I posted on Facebook, asking my military friends (female, male and canine) for their branch of service and rank but didn’t tell them what I was doing, other than they’d get a laugh in the end. Not with me but at me – and I’m totally fine with this!
Heart of Florida United Way is hoping Mission United will be a sort of hub for veterans and their families to dial and locate services. A simple call to 2-1-1 “serves as a central contact for veterans to access community support, ensuring that service members and their families are never more than two steps from the help they need,” says the website.
Also, according to local stats on the Mission United site, 118,000 veterans call Central Florida home, where a staggering third of the homeless population in Florida is made up of homeless male veterans. The State of Florida also has the third largest population of veterans, after California and Texas.
Listed below, in no particular order, are twenty Veterans I dedicated my (pathetic yet slightly comical) push-ups to in the video above;
- (My Grandfather) Private First Class Walter Steib, United States Army, World War II (even though I said WWI)
- (My Uncle) David Steib, United States Air Force
- (My Great Uncle) Private First Class Clay Cain, United States Marine Corps
- Captain Sara Kirstein, United States Marine Corps
- (CFLT5!) Staff Sergeant Fernando Torres, United States Air Force
- EM2 David Kuskie, United States Navy
- First Lieutenant Paul Reickhoff, United States Army and US Army Reserves
- E4 Louis James Sellitto, United States Navy
- Staff Sergeant and Cancer Survivor Shirley Desiree Rincon, United States Army
- Specialist 4 and Cancer Warrior Larry Klein, United States Army, Vietnam
- Sergeant Tom Santiago, United States Army, Desert Storm Vet @OrangeBuickGMC
- MM2 Jamie Nestrick, United States Navy
- ET1 DJ Nestrick, United States Navy
- Master Sergeant Don Eggert, United States Army
- E5 Sergeant 82nd Airborne and Cancer Survivor Roland Seidel, United States Army
- Robert Spar, United States Navy Medical Core
- United States Navy Captain and International Space Station Commander Scott Kelly
- (CFLT5!) Specialist Gerald Clark, United States Army Reserve
- Lieutenant Colonel Donald Briere, 82nd Airborne, 5th Special Forces Group & Founding Member of Delta Force
- Sergeant First Class Robert E Dolim, United States Army and United States Air Force
If I can do twenty push-ups, you certainly can! Do a quick video, share it on social media and challenge others using the hashtags; #MissionUnited #PushupChallenge #20or20. Make sure to tag @HFUW too on Twitter!
Not into sweat, potential public embarrassment or physical exertion? Donate $20 to Mission United here.