Alpha Tau Omega raised $90,000 as part of this year’s Walk Hard event, beating last year’s total by more than a third and setting a record for the fraternity.
The group set off from Troy’s John Lewis quad on March 5 and spent spring break walking to Panama City Beach.
“Every year, we walk for Wounded Warriors Outdoor Adventures through Jeep Sullivan,” said Josh Marvin, director of the 2021 Walk Hard event. “Walk Hard is a great opportunity for us to come together to really do something bigger than ourselves.
“With us approaching the one-year anniversary of COVID, being able to do this is a really big day, not just for Troy, not just for ATO, but really for the state of Alabama.”
According to the Wounded Warrior website, Sullivan operates the nonprofit to give veterans an opportunity to “facilitate the healing of spirit, soul and body through outdoor activities” with no cost to the veterans in the program.
“Jeep does great things for all these wounded veterans out here,” said Reed Reddish, a junior nursing major from Opelika, Alabama. “It really makes a difference in their lives, and it also makes a difference in our lives, chapter-wide.”
“My favorite thing about Walk Hard is the impact that it has on our veterans but also the impact it has on all our communities that supports us in our walk,” said Ryan Mitchell, a sophomore exercise science major from Andalusia, Alabama.
The event is held the entire week of Troy’s spring break. The 36 participants this year walked 128.3 miles. They walked during the day and rested in churches or at different camps along the way.
“…[this] is really such a good cause,” said Kyle Elliot, a senior risk management and insurance major from Highland Home, Alabama. “It really speaks to us and what we’re about. Giving up my spring break for a week to come do this is the least I could do.”
“We walk because we feel that it is our privilege to have an opportunity to give something back to the people who have sacrificed so much for this country and the people in it,” Mitchell said. “Not only is this a philanthropy, it also a time for guys like us in college to grow as men and share our abilities to help those in need.
“It is important to our fraternity because it’s a way for us to give back to the men and women who have fought for our freedoms in the United States and makes us aware that the lives that we live today wouldn’t be anything without our veterans.”
“Freedom is not free, and what you are doing is raising awareness of that,” said Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. during his sendoff speech on March 5. “What you’re giving is so much more than what you realize, and the university thanks you for it.”
“Walk Hard means so much to me, and I truly believe that the money we raise goes to a great cause, and I’m really excited to see how it pays off,” Marvin said.
Those interested in donating to the ATO’s efforts can go to www.walkhard.info. Although anyone can donate, only members of ATO can walk in their Walk Hard event.