WALK HARD: ATO members embark on fundraising walk

Published 3:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2017

Troy University’s chapter of Alpha Tau OMega sent 37 hikers on their way to Panama City Beach on Friday to rais emoney for wounded warriors. The group walked over 28 miles on the first day and will walk almost 130 miles by the time they reach Panama City Beach on Wednesday.

Thirty-seven Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) fraternity brothers departed Troy University Friday to star their six-day, 123-mile trek to Panama City Beach.

The Troy ATO chapter has sent members on the walk, titled “Walk Hard for Heroes,” since 2009 as a way to use spring break to make a difference in the lives of wounded warriors.

Chancellor Jack Hawkins said that Troy is proud of what its students are doing.

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“God bless you for what you do and for the ones that will come after you,” Hawkins said. “You’re going to lift each other up and I’ll drive by every once in a while to give you a water bottle.”

Dash Merritt, director of the walk, motivated the hikers Friday morning by telling them that they can persevere even when the walking gets hard.

“When you feel like quitting, I want you to think about the men and women you’re walking on behalf of,” Merritt said.

Proceeds from the walk will benefit Jeep Sullivan Outdoor Adventures, a charity based in Bonifay, Florida that provides hunting, fishing and fellowship opportunities to combat veterans in the Wiregrass region.

“There’s nothing better than this right here,” Sullivan said as the group took their first steps of their long journey.

The group covered over 28 miles on their first day of walking, ending in New Brockton.

The Alpha Tau Omega Walk Hard Facebook page will provide updates on the group’s status. The page also contains biographical information on each participant and a link to the group’s GoFundMe page, which Merritt said is the primary method of donating for the walk.