Ruck-a-Thon to support veterans

Published 3:00 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

Troy University’s Student Veteran’s Association will be hiking for a cause on Nov. 11 during the annual Ruck-A-Thon.

The SVA provides military veterans with resources, support and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and post-graduation.

The four hour relay-style walk-a-thin will have teams of 4 to 6 participants with at least one person from each team walking at all times with a 20-pound military-style backpack, the rucksack, at all times.

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Rucking plays a big role in life in the military, according to Casey Bell, director of the Ruck-A-Thon.

“Everything we own, we carry on our backs,” Bell said. “It allows the community to spend a day in our boots. It allows them to get a tiny taste of what we go through in everyday life in the military.

Bell said that using the rucksacks in the events not only sets the SVA apart from other organizations, it represents the military and the veterans in a special way.

“The Student Veterans Association is looking forward to the 2nd Annual Ruck-A-Thon and increased participation by the students and community,” said SVA President Erin Byers. “This is the perfect way to help a great cause and have fun while supporting those who have served.”

All the proceeds from the event will benefit this year’s philanthropy, “K-9s for Warriors.”

K-9s for Warriors provides canines to America’s warriors suffering from post-traumatic stress disability, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma as a result of military service post 9/11. The organization seeks to return injured veterans to civilian life dignity and independence.

“We chose this organization because it not only helps veterans, but it helps save shelter dogs by giving them another chance at life,” Byers said.

Bell said that the dogs not only help the veterans with companionship, but they also help with mental and physical stability.

“Veterans are different,” Bell said. “We don’t fit into society like we used to. The service dogs know how to cater to individual needs and are trained in special ways to meet those needs.”

The SVA Ruck-A-Thon will be at the Troy University Track at noon on Nov. 11. The event will conclude at 4 p.m.