Let the pushups begin.
Students, staff, faculty members and friends gathered in the HCC Campus Center cafeteria Wednesday to take part in the 22 Pushup Challenge as part of this year's annual Veterans Day celebration.
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 is being done as a group and will be 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, until Nov. 30.
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 was the culminating item on the agenda for HCC's Veterans Day celebration, which was held Wedneday because the college is closed on Nov. 11 in observance of the Veterans Day holiday.
HCC also welcomed the color guard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars District VII. HCC music major Jonathan Mendez from Springfield sang the National Anthem and America the Beautiful. Speakers included Brian 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.
PHOTOS by CHRIS YURKO: (Left) Guest speaker Brian Willette, commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Western Massachusetts Chapter 875, salutes during the presentation of the colors at HCC's Veterans Day celebration Wednesday. (Right) Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars District VII joins students, staff and faculty at HCC for the 22 Pushup Challenge Wednesday during HCC's Veteran Day festivities.