Let the pushups begin.
In recognition of Veterans Day, students, staff, faculty members and friends at HCC will undertake the "22 Pushup Challenge," doing 22 pushups every day for 22 days.
The challenge will begin today, Wed., Nov. 9, during HCC's annual Veterans Day celebration, which will be held in the HCC Campus Center cafeteria from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
The 22 Pushup Challenge is a national initiative started by a group called 22Kill to bring attention and awareness to the issue of suicide among U.S. veterans. According to the group, 22 veterans commit suicide every day.
Typically, the challenge is undertaken by individuals who pledge to do 22 pushups a day for 22 days, recording the event and uploading the video to social media using the hashtag #22Pushups.
At HCC, however, it will be done collectively, led each day at noon by students from the HCC Military Club in the HCC Courtyard (if weather permits) or some other designated spot on campus.
To accommodate as many people as possible regardless of physical ability, any type of pushup is acceptable: standard military pushups, assisted pushups (on the knees), incline pushups (against a wall) or air pushups (raising your hands in the air).
"Anybody who's willing to do 22 pushups is invited to participate," said Elizabeth Golen, Student Activities coordinator and co-advisor to the HCC Military Club. "We want everybody and anybody to join us, even if it's only for one of the 22 days."
The 22 Pushup Challenge will be the culminating item on the agenda for HCC's Veterans Day celebration, which is being today because the college is closed Friday, Nov. 11, for the holiday.
Preceding the pushups, HCC will welcome the color guard and bugler from the Veterans of Foreign Wars District VII. HCC music major Jonathan Mendez from Springfield will sing the National Anthem and America the Beautiful. Speakers will include Bryan Willette, commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Western Massachusetts Chapter 875, and HCC student-veterans Chester Wilson, of Ludlow, and Jonathan Jasmin, of Westfield.
The Veterans Day event is open to the public and area veterans are encouraged to attend.
A reception with refreshments will follow.
PHOTOS by CHRIS YURKO: (Left) U.S. flags line the entrance to the HCC campus in recognition of Veterans Day last year. (Right) Veterans from the Holyoke Soldiers' Home bow their heads during a Veterans Day ceremony at HCC last year.