Where there’s a will, there’s a way. That’s the spirit behind Wilton resident Adrienne Reedy and her effort to raise awareness about a mental health issue affecting military veterans. Her efforts have gotten the attention of the Wilton Memorial Day Parade organizers, who have asked her to take part in Monday’s parade. Now, Reedy is asking any and all Wilton residents to join her in the effort.

The campaign in which she’s participating is called “22 Kill,” and it’s an effort to draw attention to veteran suicide and mental health issues such as PTS, and to educate the public about current veteran-related issues. It’s also a way, at Memorial Day, to honor those who serve and have served in the past.

Believe it or not, it involves push ups.

Reedy was recruited to take part by a friend and at first it was simply a workout challenge—do 22 push ups a day for 22 days. But when she found out the significance of the number 22, she was shocked.

“It’s for raising awareness of the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day. I was like, ‘That can’t be! Maybe you meant one every 22 days.’ My friend said, ‘No, we’re doing 22 pushups everyday, for 22 days, to get the word out about the 22 who commit suicide every day.’”

That made it a mission for Reedy.

“I had no idea that this was an issue for our veterans. I thought, ‘Heck yeah, I can do that!’”

As part of the campaign, organizers are trying to get enough people participating to tally 22 million pushups completed in total.

Like other viral awareness campaigns—think the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge—participants are using social media to get the word out. Reedy has been posting daily videos on Facebook of her 22 push up routine, to encourage her friends and contacts to join her in the effort. Little did she know that it hit close to home for a childhood friend. “She was in my 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade class, and her brother was in the service and came back, and he couldn’t handle it and he took his own life. I can’t just know this and not do anything. For me personally, it’s made me say, I’m not going to stop.”

One of Reedy’s Wilton friends, Kelly Weldon, joined in and suggested trying to get the broader Wilton community aware and involved.

That’s where the idea for a push up flash mob was born.

They’re inviting anyone and everyone to meet on Sunday, May 29, at 8 a.m. at the Wilton High School track to take part in the 22 Kill Push Up Flash Mob. These push ups will be counted toward the 22 million goal. “We hope at minimum we get 100 people to come out and support this. I just think it will be such a visual for our community to come together to do something like this for our vets,” says Reedy.

Since then, she and Weldon were contacted by the chair of the Memorial Day Parade committee, who extended an invite to the duo to ride in the parade on Monday. They’ll be on a flat bed truck on a platform doing pushups.

Adrienne Reedy and Kelly Weldon pushup
Adrienne Reedy and Kelly Weldon

As for Reedy, she says what she’s learned since first finding out about veteran suicide rates, she’s going to continue on as long as she can, even beyond the 22 days of the campaign.

“I’m going to see what other things I personally can do to help these veterans,” she says.

To learn more about the 22 Kill effort, visit their website.