VELPEN, Ind. (WEHT)– Ryan Menke, who works in Huntingburg, met with Eyewitness News Friday morning at Cool Springs. Menke said he took part two years ago in an event that raised awareness and money for homeless veterans with three goals in mind.
“Don’t stand out, don’t die, and raise the most money possible because I honestly didn’t deserve to be there. I didn’t make the sacrifices those folks did to be able to swim that year. Ever since then it’s everything I can do to raise funds and awareness to help veterans,” Menke said.
Menke said the swim and run event, now held yearly, raises money for these veterans in need. He said people can go online to donate money. On August 7 2021, he said the swim and run event takes place. Menke said he’ll be among roughly 200 people- consisting of Navy SEALS, veterans themselves, and military supporters exercising for the cause.
“Most people are unaware of it. Just in New York City alone, where the event is, there’s like seventy thousand homeless veterans. Another significant part of the event is we do 22 pullups at every single station and that’s because 22 veterans commit suicide every single day,” Menke said.
He also said this year is a special year.
“It’s a special year. It’s the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, as well as the tenth anniversary of the Extortion 17- which was the single largest loss of life in Afghanistan. It was a big special forces disaster so we’re trying to raise money for all the veterans,” Menke said.
It’s something he said has changed his life over the last couple of years.
“Two to three years ago when it all started, I really had to commit and make sure I was physically ready and I hadn’t swam really since middle school and couldn’t do three pull-ups when I started so it’s really created a lifestyle change for me. It’s something I’m very committed to,” Menke said.