The 22 Mile Hike for the 22: Veterans Honor Those Who Took Their Lives

Scotti Mizner

Post written by Scotti Mizner, Senior Recruiter

When you hear the number, “22,” what does it mean to you? An age? An athlete’s jersey number? A special date?

To veterans that number is something special, but unfortunately not in a good way.  The number 22 represents how many veterans take their own life every day.

That number actually refers to a study by the VA back in 2012. The study only included 21 states, and the actual range was 18-22 per day.

Nonetheless, veterans have taken this number to heart and it’s painful to all who serve or have served.

Out of all the veterans I know, each of them knows at least one person who has committed suicide.

Just in the first eight months of my military contract, I personally knew of two members who decided to take their own life.

Being the big family that the military is, everyone wants to help when needed. Veterans want other veterans to know that they’re there to speak with them or listen, even if they’ve only spoken a couple times. It’s a bond built among the services.

There have been multiple ways veterans have tried to spread the news of “The 22”.

There was the “22 push up for 22 days” event on social media. While more people were made aware of this number, and these people again offered their ears to those who needed it, the event didn’t last long.

22 with flag-800x800

The event now sweeping through veteran communities is the 22-mile hike for the 22.

This hike again brings recognition to the reality that 22 veterans a day commit suicide.

What this event also does is make a charitable donation to different veteran programs, allowing the specialist to help others.

The best thing about this event is it brings a group of veterans together and gives them the chance to make new connections with people who have the same interests.

At the same time, those veterans get the comfort and comradery of being around other veterans.

Sharing jokes and stories and, at least for a day, forgetting about things in their lives that may be distracting or uncomfortable.

Recently, Kansas City had its own 22-for-22 hike. A bitter Saturday morning in December.

There’s nothing like building new… and strengthening old… friendships on a cold and painful 22-mile hike.

The day is spent hiking to the veteran’s community project in Kansas City, an organization dedicated to building tiny homes for veterans. Check out their website here.

Some don’t want to spend their Saturday walking in that cold weather. But to others, helping out and building friendships is a perfect way to spend a Saturday. The veteran community is a very small one, but I’ve always known veterans to help other veterans like they were family.

If you would like to donate to the Kansas City Veteran Community Project, there is a GoFundMe page that has been set up for the 22-for-22 hike. You can find it here.