Every day, Andre Rush, a retired Army officer and former White House chef, does 2,222 pushups. And every day, he thinks about what that number symbolizes: a tribute to the military veterans who die daily from suicide.
Rush’s ritual is more than just a tribute, however.
“It’s a reminder to never become complacent, that we still have work to do and we still have to keep going,” Rush told ABC News. “And you can’t stop. You can never give up on something that you believe in, especially people.”
The prominent chef, TV host and advocate recently joined “Face the Fight,” a multimillion-dollar new initiative launched last month to halve the suicide rate among veterans by 2030.
Established by USAA — a financial company for military members, veterans and their families — and an initial $41 million in philanthropic grants, the “Face the Fight” campaign is designed to raise awareness and support for veteran suicide prevention.
A coalition of corporations, foundations, nonprofits and veteran-focused organizations are involved, such as the Humana Foundation and Reach Resilience, an Endeavors Foundation.
Katy Dondanville, a clinical psychologist at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, has spent her career researching PTSD and suicide in veterans. She said the reasons why someone dies by suicide are complicated.
“What we know is that there is not one cause of suicide. It’s a complex interplay of risk factors and protective factors that impact every individual differently,” said Dondanville, whose program is getting money from “Face the Fight.”
Read more at ABCNews.com.