ATO to walk hard

Kat Rogers

Staff Writer

Brothers of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity will walk 128.3 miles from Troy to Panama City Beach, Florida, to raise money for Jeep Sullivan’s Outdoor Adventures, the fraternity’s philanthropy that benefits wounded veterans and their families though the outdoors.

Their journey will begin on Friday, March 3, and they will walk all day, every day, until reaching their destination on Wednesday, March 8.

During the week, ATO will have multiple events to further benefit Jeep Sullivan.

Douglas Dick, a junior risk management insurance major from Panama City, Florida, said that this philanthropy is really important.

“Being an ATO, this philanthropy really is the heart beat of our fraternity,‘‘ Dick said. “Since I was a freshman, I have heard stories of how memorable the walk is and how impactful it is for the men and women we are walking to support.”

From Monday to Wednesday, a table was hosted in the Trojan Center for nominees of Ms. Walk Hard. Nominees were chosen by their respective organizations and then submitted to ATO.

In addition, ATO sold raffle tickets for prizes that amounted to over $2,000, including North Face gear, a Ronaldo bracelet, a Patagonia backpack and an Xbox One.

On Monday, Feb. 27, fraternity members, Troy students and community residents, participated in the Walk Hard Memorial Walk from the main quad on campus to the square downtown where a spirit night was held at several downtown locations.

“It was really cool to see students rally behind a cause that we as brothers hold near and dear to our hearts,” said Ryan Renfrow, a junior broadcast journalism major from Alabaster and philanthropy chair of ATO. “We had spirit nights at Momma Goldberg’s, Sips and Milky Moo’s.”

Most of the brothers participating in “Walk Hard” also walked in the memorial walk.

“This is the first year we’ve done the memorial walk, so to take part in an inaugural event for such an already important week makes something like this walk that much more special,” said Kyle Shook, a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Montgomery. “Any way I can promote Walk Hard I’ll do.

“I think this reaches out and connects to the community a lot better than a party or supper or any of the more common fundraising events can convey.”

Hoops for Troops took place at the ATO house on Tuesday, Feb. 28, serving as a basketball tournament to get students involved with Walk Hard, according to Renfrow.

There were 15 teams of up to four players who participated, with Kappa Delta winning the girls bracket and a group of students whose team name was “Blackout” winning the boys bracket.

To the winning teams, $50 was awarded to their philanthropies of choice.

“We recently had a second basketball goal installed on our lot, so we really wanted to utilize it as best we can,” Renfrow said.   

A spirit night at Zaxby’s was also held on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, there was a Wild Game Night held at the ATO house from 7-10 p.m. Venison, hog, frog and quail were among the foods served.

During the event, the winners for the banner competition and Ms. Walk Hard were announced.

For Thursday, March 2, events include a spirit night at Santa Fe from 5-9 p.m. and a dinner for the brothers who are walking this year at the house.

Matthew Trest, a sophomore accounting major from Demopolis, said he expects the walk to be physically and mentally demanding.

“Physically, I know it’s going to be tough,” Trest said. “I keep thinking about how my body is going to be stiff when I wake up in the mornings, and I am not going to be able to move freely.

“Mentally, I’m trying to stay positive. My fear is that I get stuck walking alone for a few hours because that could be mentally draining.”

Kolby Hughes, a sophomore marine biology major from Pell City, walked last year and said it was one of the most rewarding and most difficult things he had ever done.

“It’s an experience I’ll never forget,” Hughes said. 

ATO also has a GoFundMe link on its Facebook page for any additional donations.

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