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Pushups for a cause

  • 23_news_nlpushups.jpg
    Northern Lehigh Middle School eighth-grade students Brad Horn, top, and Jason Hunter, attempt this unique type of pushup as part of the school's 22 Pushup Challenge. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS
Published December 23. 2016 02:45PM

On Thursday morning, a group of Northern Lehigh Middle School students collectively dropped to the floor of the school gymnasium and belted out 22 pushups in unison.

It turns out their ability to pump out the pushups was about way more than showing off their stamina in front of their classmates. It represented the culmination of their 22 Pushup Challenge.

Members of the Nam Knights of America Motorcycle Club, Lehigh Valley Chapter, a veteran and law enforcement organization, watched the students complete their goal.

Todd Herzog, eighth-grade middle school history teacher, said the students began the program back on Veterans Day as part of a challenge to raise awareness and funds to donate to a veterans’ organization.

“I taught a lesson in class and wanted to raise an awareness in the students and give them a better understanding of the sacrifices made by vets while protecting our country,” Herzog said. “I felt it was a valuable lesson to learn and positive way to give back to our local communities.”

As part of the challenge, the students raised $560.

“I was extremely proud of them,” Herzog said.

Students did more than expected.

“What a great representation of our school,” Herzog said.

The students planned to donate the money to the Nam Knights of America Motorcycle Club, Lehigh Valley Chapter.

But, rather than accept the donation, Herzog said the organization agreed to match all dollar amounts raised by the students to be donated to a veterans’ group.

“I didn’t even have any words . . .” he said. “That just shows you how valuable our veterans are.”

RJ Shenyo, club secretary for the Nam Knights of America Motorcycle Club, Lehigh Valley Chapter, said, “Our focus was on the students and their effort, and I think it was very impressive that they were able to raise $560 in the effort.”

“We were impressed with both the teacher, and the students, interest in learning a little bit about our veterans,” Shenyo said. “It just warms my heart that there are teachers like that who place a value on our veterans and the sacrifices that were made for our country.”

Shenyo said the money was to be donated to a charity that supports and assists veterans, and the students picked Tails of Valor Paws of Honor Program Inc., of Coopersburg.

Heather Lloyd, founder and president of Tails of Valor Paws, members of the group and two service dogs, were on hand to accept the combined donation of $1,120.

The program is dedicated to providing rehabilitation through nonmedicinal therapies with service canines to veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and physical disabilities.

The 22 Pushup Challenge began several years ago as a means to raise awareness for the 22 military veterans who take their own lives each day on average.

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