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ISHPEMING - For Staff Sergeant Michael Beattie and First Lieutenant Cody Cass, veteran suicide is an important issue. So when they wanted to help spread awareness, they thought of something simple- taking a walk.
"When we thought of the idea, there was a lot of that 22 push-up challenge on Facebook so we just wanted to one-up it and really get it out there," said Beattie. "This is what we came up with and coincidentally it's 22 miles a day for 14 days across the U.P."
"We can link it to a good cause because on average, 22 veterans a day take their own lives," said Cass. "There are different challenges out there, the 22 push-up challenge and other challenges as well and we thought that this would be a big, large-scale event to really bring awareness."
For these two U.P. natives, the 14-day journey from Ironwood to Sault Ste. Marie never imposed as a hindrance.
"There are a lot of veterans that are from up here," says Cass. "Whether you worked at the mine, hospital, somewhere, a lot of times the military was the way out and then they eventually come back. So we thought doing it across the U.P. would symbolize something not only for Yoopers but just a good challenge overall."
"Right now we've had a lot of people honking and waving so we know the words getting out and that's good," says Beattie.
But the mission and the message for these two is far from over.
"The resources are out there and it's hard to go out there and reach for them and it's kind of a sign of weakness, you might think, but it takes a lot of strength to do so," said Cass. "I encourage everybody to make sure they seek out those resources."