Posted on November 10, 2016

WARSAW — Lift for the 22 is an organization focused on providing area veterans with a support system to help end the anxiety and depression that causes an average of 22 veterans to commit suicide a day.

Carter Davis, founder of Lift for the 22, is a former US Marine who was released from duty in July 2013 with a non-combat related injury. Temporarily wheelchair bound, Davis and his wife faced a lot of emotional and financial strain, eventually leading to Davis’s wife leaving the relationship. Feeling like he was in a downward spiral, Davis contemplated suicide. When he talked to some friends about what he was feeling, they took him to the gym in hopes of easing his mind. After a hard workout, Davis realized he could think more clearly and felt his anxiety and depression subsiding.

According to Davis, Lift for the 22 started as a social media movement. After easing his anxiety through fitness, Davis realized that he wanted to let other veterans know the relief they could feel if they got together, so in March 2015 Davis started the hashtag #Liftforthe22. By August 2015, a Workout Anytime in Beaverton, Ore. had contacted Davis wanting to give away 22 memberships.

The day Davis visited the facility, the Workout Anytime’s vice president showed up to do an inspection and inquired about the membership give away. Touched by Davis’s story, he contacted the CEO of Workout Anytime to discuss the possibility of promoting the membership giveaway on a larger scale. Starting in November 2015, Workout Anytime agreed to give away 22 one-year memberships to veterans.

Overall the program aims to provide financial capability for veterans to maintain their health and wellness. “When you get out, your military experience and the college credits they give you for your training, it doesn’t transfer very well,” stated Davis. “You could have been an E5 in the military making $50,000 a year, and then you get out and you’re making $9.50 at Sonic trying to support your family and go to school.”

Last year the company had 1,800 memberships to give away, giving away only 174. Warsaw’s Workout Anytime facility, located at 2880 Frontage Road, has only used two of their 22 available memberships.

“We want people to know about [Lift for the 22],” stated Workout Anytime manager and personal trainer Alex Deeter. Explaining how the facility is great for veterans suffering from PTSD, Deeter says, “


We have a great space for veterans. It’s a smaller facility and it is pretty quiet. They can come here and not be in a crowd or in a loud environment.”

Deeter expressed the importance of veterans getting together and having a “brotherhood” for support. Davis had previously commented, “Veterans are the only ones who can help other veterans. It sounds decisive, but it’s true. Other veterans are the only ones who understand the struggles of getting out of the service.”

Davis talked about how veterans who are out can help newly released with basic things such as writing resumes and finding jobs, to just being a 24-hour support network. The gyms are 24 hours so veterans can get together anytime and be supportive.

“I always challenge veterans to go to the gym and pick up that extra five pounds that they don’t think they can lift, and once they realize they can overcome what they didn’t think they could, they should go out and lift the metaphorical extra five pounds in their life,” said Davis.

Applications are available on the Lift for the 22 website and can be completed at any time. Davis contacts people the 1-16 day of every month, with a turn around time of about 2-4 weeks. The only requirement is that the applicant be a veteran, make less than $60,000 a year and be able to commit to going to the gym 2-3 times a week. Applicants will be asked to submit a DD214.

Warsaw’s Workout Anytime location will be offering 22-day passes tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 11. These passes can help fill the gap between application and acceptance, allowing veterans to start immediately.

Donations can be submitted on the Lift for the 22 website.