Troy University’s Alpha Tau Omega fraternity prepped for its annual Walk Hard event with a 16.5-mile practice walk around Troy on Saturday.
The walk was a simulation of the sixth and final day of Walk Hard.
Walk Hard is ATO’s signature philanthropic event, in which a group of ATO brothers volunteer to walk from Troy to Panama City, Florida. The event was initially created to raise money for juvenile diabetes.
Last year, ATO decided to change the focus of the walk to help the Wounded Warrior Project.
“We’re walking for Jeep Sullivan’s Outdoor Adventures, a certified nonprofit organization based in Bonifay, Florida,” said Logan Wagner, a senior psychology major from Baker, Florida and ATO’s Walk Hard director. “Basically what they (the Wounded Warrior Project) do is take guys with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder or missing limbs, and they take them out into the woods and let them de-stress and relax.
“It helps them get their feet back under them and build their confidence back up. A lot of guys feel pressure when they come home from overseas, and this is just a great way to build a support network in the community.”
The week before Walk Hard, ATO will hold a series of fundraising events, including a Chick-fil-A spirit night, a raffle party and a kickoff party. All money raised from ticket sales will go straight to supporting Jeep Sullivan’s Outdoor Adventures and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Walk Hard will begin on March 6 at 8 a.m. and will end at Pier Park in Panama City Beach, Florida, at 3 or 4 p.m. on March 11.
“It takes six days, and it’s 128.3 miles,” Wagner said. “It’s grueling. It’s tough. You think about quitting, but it’s also very rewarding, and that’s why we do it. “
ATO also takes donations and allows advertisers to do sponsorships. Advertisers can buy signs to advertise their businesses at each mile of the walk.
“It’s a really, really awesome event, and it’s honestly one of the biggest reasons I joined ATO,” Wagner said.
Those who wish to donate can do so at ATO’s Walk Hard Gofundme account, gofundme.com/atowalkhard.