CSUSM Alumni hits 1000th consecutive day doing push-ups for Veteran Suicide Awareness

DSC06873William Felty, USMC Post 9/11, CSUSM MSW Alumni

On June 22, 2019, CSUSM MSW Alumni and Post 9/11 US Marine, William Felty hit his 1000th day in-a-row conducting the 22 Push-up Challenge that brings awareness about the high suicide rate in our Veteran population. Over 20 Veterans commit suicide every day and Felty is advocating for his fellow servicemen and women. His goal is to educate others about this crisis and to help others who suffer with PTSD or contemplates suicide.

“I do this to remind myself about how many Veterans take their own lives and I remind others to #BeThere for each other in times of need,” said Felty.


The American Legion Post 149 in Escondido welcomed this VETogether with Battle Buddies event that was hosted by VETogether, Veterans Crisis Outreach and VFW Post 1513 and the opportunity provided a safe and family friendly environment for Veterans to share their experiences with an audience of approximately 60 attendees who also participated in discussions and activities.

Attendees were encouraged to #BeThere for Veterans and to help them build resiliency through community and conversation. With over 25 community resources and services on-site, Veterans learned about services that were available to them and they were invited to share their experiences reflecting on mental health, recovery and their life in the military.

DSC06963Steven Sutherland, William Felty
DSC06614Steven Sutherland, Air Force Veteran & CSUSM Student

Steven Sutherland, Air Force Veteran and CSUSM student authored the poem titled “22” and performed it for the audience.

“I probably wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for my wife. I’m a father, a husband, a son, a brother and an uncle but I’m also a survivor.  The devil is alive and works in the dark, you can’t heal what you don’t reveal,” Sutherland said.

DSC06993Attendees were invited to participate in networking opportunities and food was hosted by Smoke n Aces BBQ and sponsored by the VFW Post 1513 of Escondido.

DSC06973Steven Sutherland, Marilyn Huerta, William Felty from CSUSM
DSC06575DSC06974Steven Sutherland, Sara Correll, Marilyn Huerta, William Felty


DSC06946Matt Foster, US Marine (Retired)

More news articles about Felty and Sutherland advocating for fellow Vets:

Veteran Suicide Stats/Info:

  • 6,079 total veteran suicides and on average, 20+ Vet suicides/day (2016)
  • Reports estimate 1 in 3 OIF/OEF Vets experience with PTSD and/or Depression (VA, 2019)
  • On average, Vets are 1.5x more likely to die by suicide than their respective civilian counterparts (2016)
  • 20= 6 active in VHA care yet 14 in-active in VHA care recently (2016)
  • In San Diego County, 1 Vet every 3-4 days (111 in 2017)
  • 69.4%= Suicides by firearms (2016)

How to help:

Mark your calendar for Monday, September 23rd to attend:

The Power of a Story: Building Resiliency for Veterans through Community & Conversations

Tickets go on sale August 26th.
CSUSM Students & Alumni: FREE (but tickets will still need to be reserved)
Veterans: FREE (but tickets will still need to be reserved)
Faculty/Staff: $5
Community Members: $10

Marilyn Huerta
Public Affairs Communication Specialist II

Photo Credit: Vyanh Ho


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