MITCHELL, S.D. (KELO) — Kevin Tiger of Fort Pierre has personal ties to The 437 Project’s mission to lift up the topic of mental health.

“Growing up around here in high school, we seen a few friends take their lives,” Tiger said. “And recently we’ve, a few years ago I had a best friend’s little brother take his life, and about a year ago I had a close friend about take his life. So, I just tell them I’m a phone call away.”

He owns Tiger’s Tap in Fort Pierre and donated lunch to The 437 Project’s runners and crew.

“Me, my fiancé, we’re a big part of this community,” Tiger said. “Every time there’s something going on, we try to put our hand in and help.”

The project’s 12 runners are crossing South Dakota on foot, and runners are feeling the support.

“I will say that I have seen so many businesses, organizations, nonprofits, restaurants come out of the woodwork that just want to be a part of it,” runner and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said.

“People have been so supportive, and even just the truckers going by and honking, right,” John Meyer of Sioux Falls said. “It’s been so great.”

“It’s overwhelming to see the impact of this event and how it’s given people permission to talk about grief and things they’ve experienced related to suicide and mental health challenges,” TenHaken said.

One of the core themes of The 437 Project’s effort and its messaging has been how there are people out there who care.

“Give me a call, even if I don’t know you,” Tiger said.