Operation Bear Hug is the unique suicide-awareness event created by the Student Veteran Organization at Colorado State University. Past OBH competition have featured a 5K, military-style obstacle course meant to challenge participants and raise awareness about veteran suicide.
Taking the challenge online
However, with Colorado observing shelter-in-place rules, this uniquely CSU event – set for Saturday, April 18 – had to go virtual.
“It would have been simpler to just cancel the event, but we want everyone – students, faculty and staff, and the community – to know that there are still people who are there to help and reasons to hold onto hope even though everything in your daily routine has been thrown off,” said Josh Johnson, president of CSU’s SVO.
Johnson, a senior, is actually in Cortez, Colorado, on assignment from the Colorado Air National Guard to help Montezuma County officials cope with COVID-19. Others involved in the OBH challenge will be spread across the country but can connect online via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Keep the awareness going
Participants are asked to do a video of a 15-second (at least) wall sit; during the wall sit, hold up a sign that says “I hold onto hope for…” and fill in the name of someone you care for. Then, issue the same challenge to three others using hashtags #HoldOnToHope, #operationbearhug and #OBH2020.
There’s even a sample video for participants. There is no fee to participate.
“We’re hoping this keeps going for months,” Johnson said. “This provides a bigger opportunity for impact in a (veteran) community that’s more isolated that ever. Everybody’s suffering right now so let’s do what we can to raise suicide awareness.”