Combatting veteran suicide
- Holly Scholz
- Central Oregonian - Features
Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every day.
That's what the Veteran's Administration reported in 2012.
Lift For The 22, a national nonprofit that provides one-year gym memberships to military veterans, has partnered with CrossFit Prineville to fight veteran suicide and increase the health and wellness of the veteran community locally.
"One of my coaches sent me their little video on Facebook, and I watched it, and I just knew — I need to be part of this program," said CrossFit Prineville owner Jessica Goodwin.
Carter Davis, who lived in the Portland area, had shared his story.
"He was a veteran, and he came home, and he was battling with depression and suicidal thoughts, and his friends scooped him up and took him to the gym, and he became strong and didn't want to die anymore and felt he had a purpose, surrounded by people and a community," Goodwin explained.
In 2015, Davis and a buddy started this program for veterans of all eras in hopes of helping others like himself.
Lift For The 22's mission is to fight veteran suicide by bringing the veteran community together through health and fitness. Lift For The 22 partners with fitness facilities all over the country to provide these memberships to veterans.
"Ultimately, the program is designed to help soldiers combat PTSD and re-acclimate into the community after they get home," Goodwin said.
She donated five one-year gym memberships valued at $1,440 each to Lift For The 22 to be given to local veterans every year.
"When I heard of the program and what it does, I could completely see how it would work," Goodwin said, adding that she has clients tell her that CrossFit has helped them get stronger physically and mentally. "If we can help one person, then that is amazing."
CrossFit is a worldwide strength and conditioning fitness program designed for all ages.
"CrossFit honors the military. We have a lot of named workouts in remembrance of those that lost their life in the line of duty," Goodwin said. "CrossFit is a big part of the military. It kind of derived from there, and their workouts and their camaraderie, and those are the things that we try to build in the CrossFit community."
Goodwin said they do everything at the local gym — rowing, biking, running, Olympic lifting, gymnastics movements, plyometric movements and metabolic conditioning. Clients can take hour-long classes as many as six days a week.
"Every person has their limitations and their modifications," she pointed out. "The neat thing about CrossFit is the community aspect of it and how it literally is for anyone."
Goodwin joined the Prineville CrossFit in 2010 when Tami Ough owned it and then became a coach in 2011. But three-and-a-half years ago, Goodwin bought the business from Ough, who continues to coach. Goodwin now has 10 coaches, and several of their clients are veterans.
"Some of them I know do deal with PTSD," Goodwin said of the veterans. "I know that CrossFit has helped them deal with that. It hits home."
Veterans can apply for the one-year free membership online at the Lift For The 22 website, a process that can take a month. The first five local veterans to get approved will have a one-year membership to the local gym.
"I would absolutely encourage people who are struggling with PTSD or depression from being in the military to apply and have them join this awesome community that we have and our awesome group of people that attend the gym," Goodwin said. "There's help out there."
Owner: Jessica Goodwin
Address: 2675 High Desert Drive, #22, Prineville
Apply for Lift For The 22 online: www.LiftForThe22.org