Lee, Wilson join ATO Walk Hard journey

Published 9:04 am Thursday, March 8, 2018

On Friday, 33 members of Alpha Tau Omega will begin a grueling walk to Panama City to raise money and awareness for wounded warriors.

Two of those walkers were born and raised right here in Troy and are embarking on the annual trek for the first time.

Troy native Eric Lee said his family history makes this walk personal for him.

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“Both of my grandfathers served in the Korean War,” Lee said. “I feel like this walk will be a great opportunity to honor them along with any other Veteran who has served our great country.”

Cole Wilson decided to join in on the event himself after witnessing the end of the last two walks in Panama City Beach.

“I’ve gotten to go down to Pier Park the past two years when they’ve walked in,” Wilson said. “Just seeing Jeep’s face when he gets that check and seeing the gratification, the look on the walkers faces just really made me want to participate in something as amazing as this cause.”

This is the ninth year ATO will be walking and the fourth year they will be benefitting Jeep Sullivan.

Chapter President Samuel Lee Moody will be leading the walk.

“Mr. Jeep takes our donations and uses them to build a community of wounded warriors and their families,” Moody said. “A lot of these men struggle daily with their ailments from war. Jeep helps these men cope on a physical perspective, but he also exposes them to the Gospel. Our donations are quite literally saving lives.”

Moody said this walk has helped him become the man he is today “It has completely enriched my college experience,” Moody said. “It means so much to be able to put my body through so much pain so that veterans may have the ability to feel a little less pain. I have never served, so being able to ‘serve’ veterans in this way truly means everything.”

The Walkers have been preparing for this 128-mile walk for several weeks now. The team is a mixture of returning members and first timers.

“The Alabama Hiking Trail Society held a presentation for us where they gave us helpful ideas and tips for our walk,” Lee said.

Wilson said there have also been some practice walks, but that the 128-mile walk will be a challenge like he’s never experienced.

“The most I’ve ever walked is 14 miles in a day,” Wilson said.

Wilson and his fellow walkers will double that on the first day alone, walking 28 miles before coming to a rest Friday.

The walk will last six days, ending on March 14.

“I’m more excited than anything just ready for it to start all we’ve been talking about past two, three months is preparing for this ready to go ahead and get started with it looking forward to it.”

To donate or find additional information, visit their Facebook page Alpha Tau Omega Walk Hard.

Eric Lee and Cole Wilson, both of Troy, will join ATO on the Walk Hard journey beginning this week.