MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — April is National Volunteer Month, a time to recognize the important work local nonprofit organizations do.
Mission 22 aims to help veterans recover from mental illness. The nonprofit has been serving the military community since 2013.
Last winter, when a video of local volunteer and ambassador Loren Files holding a sign on the corner of a busy intersection went viral on social media, Mission 22 caught the attention of millions around the world.
“You know a lot of people they struggle not only with mental health to begin with, you know, just average people, but you add a pandemic onto that, you add, if they’re a veteran, you know potential PTSD, and it’s just gonna be a huge fight,” Files mentioned.
Since then, Files says the local burst of support has made it possible to serve more veterans than ever.
“Veterans are some of our toughest citizens and if they’re struggling with it right now. being as tough as they are, you know, who knows what your average person is struggling with it as well,” Files added.
The run was intended to solely take place in Mankato, but organizers say it has piqued the interest of volunteers across the world. Now, sister runs are scheduled to take place in Alaska, Texas, Wisconsin, Vermont, Alabama, and Tokyo, Japan.
Files says Mission 22′s immense success was only made possible with the help of volunteers.
“If Mission 22 isn’t your thing, if you want to go to anything that supports veterans and/or mental health in general, they all, every single one of them, could certainly use more funds and more help and more volunteering,” Files stated.