Each day that passes, 22 veterans take their own lives. Let that sink in for just a moment.

It's one of the saddest statistics out there and it's a reality that the world has been facing for years. How many lives do we have to lose before this problem ceases to exist? Our own men and women who have served and fought to uphold the freedom of this country are losing faith and hope and are struggling with PTSD on a daily basis.

For the past five years, I've been an active member of the local Mission 22 non-profit organization to help support as best as I can the veterans in our SouthCoast community. Over the past year, I've been extending the invite to my teammates on the Providence Rugby Football Club on both the men's and women's teams. Just like family, we work together as one. It's an unbreakable unity that has always lent a supporting hand to those in need in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Since we have all been socially distanced from each other now that our season has been canceled, we decided to come together once more in virtual fashion. On May 7, around 7:30 p.m., both the men's and women's club teamed up via video conference to show our support for the "22" who have lost their battle, not just today, but again, on the daily.

As coordinated as we could, the command was sent out to drop, and just like that, 22 push-ups were shared on one computer screen. It was as if we never parted. Each rep was called out loud in cadence, resonating through the speakers of our laptops, phones and iPads.

"19, DOWN, 20, DOWN, 21, DOWN, 22... Hold the line!" A brief pause at the top of the 22nd push-up signified the burn and pain of each individual veteran who felt alone. For each veteran who is going through mental agony with suppressed feelings and dark thoughts. For each veteran who simply just needs a lending hand to help guide them and get them back on their feet once again.

It's one thing to be alone, but to be alone with your thoughts can be a scary thing.

We encourage others to band together with whatever group you associate with. Whether it be a sports club or team, coworkers, family members, active and non-active military members or even just a group of friends to join the movement by coming together for 22 push-ups as a unit.

If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's this:

"It's OK to be not OK."

A powerful message that reminds me that their will always be someone to lean on during the toughest times and to clear my mind and thoughts of the stigma. Mental health is so important, now more than ever.

I'd like to leave you with one simple request: reach out to your loved ones every once in a while. Check in on your friends and family. All you have to do is let them know you are still here, and sometimes those words alone can be more powerful than imagined.

To the Providence Rugby family, thank you from the bottom of my heart by supporting a cause that I not only cherish, but will continue to help grow through the years until that one number, 22, will eventually be just a zero.

To all who have served, are currently serving and who have fought their last fight, I am forever thankful for what you do, what you have done and what you're destined to become.

Here's to the mission and here's to the "22."

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