by: Kelsey Vickers
Twelve Alpha Tau Omega brothers will be taking a six-day trek from Troy to Panama City Beach to raise funds for the Special Olympics and The Alabama Special Camp for Children and Adults.
This event, otherwise known as Walk Hard, is the annual philanthropy for the fraternity.
The walk, which begins on March 8, will be over 150 miles and will help raise money and awareness for these charities.
ATO Philanthropy Chair Parker Reiss, a sophomore elementary education major from Brewton, said that the participants will carry everything they need on their backs during the walk.
“They will camp along the side of the road at predestined places,” he said.
Reiss also said that during the last half mile, they will have athletes from the Special Olympics walk with them to finish the walk.
Mayor Jason Reeves, who came to campus last Thursday to speak with the brothers, will be at the finish line to congratulate the participants that walked.
Reeves will also be starting the walk with them.
According to Reiss, it was special to have the mayor come talk to them personally regarding the event.
“I think that any time that the city and the university are able to come together is very beneficial,” he said.
Mayor Reeves wished them the best of luck and told the brothers that he was proud of them for what they are doing.
Reiss said that the one thing Reeves said that stuck out to him the most was that he once dribbled a basketball from the state capital to the university for a fundraiser when he was a student.
“I thought it was cool that our events were similar and we have some common ground; I know that he has a very busy schedule, so him taking the time to come visit us was very special,” Reiss said.
He said that having a mayor like Reeves, who cares about the students and the university, is something that you probably cannot find on other campuses.
Reiss said that he thinks raising funds for the Special Olympics is important.
He said that it is an organization that many times can get overlooked.
“The money that we raise is broken down like this: forty five percent goes to the Special Olympics of Alabama, forty five percent to the Special Olympics of Florida and ten percent will go to Camp ASCCA,” Reiss said.
As for Reiss’ personal feelings towards the fundraiser, this particular charity hits close to home with him.
“My little sister attends this camp each year because she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes,” he said.
For more information on this event, you can visit www.walkhard.org.