SCHENECTADY — Five local watering holes have joined forces this month to raise money for and bring awareness to veteran suicide prevention.
Through May, patrons can do 22 pushups on the sidewalk outside Backstage Pub, 501 Smith St.; Hunter’s on Jay, 50 N. Jay St.; Katie O’Byrnes, 121 Wall St.; Mad Jack Brewing Co., 237 Union St.; or Wolf Hollow Brewing Co., 6882 Amsterdam Road.
For those efforts, the five businesses will then donate money to Oregon-based Mission 22, an organization that provides treatment programs to veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other issues they might be facing.
The 22 pushups represent the estimated number of veterans in America who die each day from PTSD. A spokeswoman for Mission 22 said the estimate fluctuates year to year. The agency also noted that the estimate does not include instances of veterans with PTSD who die of accidental overdoses or by a police officer.
The 22 pushup challenge gained viral attention in 2016, when news feeds of video posted by celebrities began to inundate Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
It costs about $10,000 per veteran per year for treatment in Mission 22’s 12-month recovery and resilience program.
In addition to pushups, patrons of the five downtown Schenectady businesses can drink a special brew, with a portion of the sale designated to Mission 22, said Terry Aldrich, owner of the Backstage Pub.
The five businesses teamed up to brew the “Big Fruit Salute,” a pineapple blackberry sour beer that will be released at the bars on May 27.
Sold for $7 a pint, a dollar from each sale will also be donated to Mission 22, Aldrich said.
Lastly, profits from the sales of a $20 t-shirt containing all five businesses’ names and Mission 22 on the back, and an American flag on the sleeve, will be donated to Mission 22.
Aldrich said the fundraiser isn’t meant to be viewed as a means of drumming up business during a pandemic. The bars have a good showing of active-duty service members, veterans, and patrons who know someone who served, he said.
Also, the bars have been civic-minded in the past, Aldrich said. Backstage Pub and Hunter’s on Jay previously raised upward of $500 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a result of donating a portion of another local brew called the Big Stupid IPA, Aldrich said.