Locals to participate in ATO Walk Hard

Published 9:31 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2020

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By Anna Shay Wasden

As the brothers of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity gear up for their annual Walk Hard, a 128.3-mile charity hike from Troy to Panama City Beach, four brothers feel even more of a connection to their starting line within Pike County. Brian Redmon, Bryant Hussey, and Stewart and Logan Wilson each called Pike County home before their time at Troy University. And, together along with their fraternity brothers, they will raise money and awareness for the wounded warriors and Jeep Sullivan’s Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures.

“Living in Troy has affected my involvement in ATO and Walk Hard because I can involve a lot of our local businesses and individuals into what we do and stand for,” explains Brian Redmon of Goshen. “The great support that we receive from the community allows our guys that are not from here to see what Troy is about and allows ATO to give back to the city that I am from.”

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Choosing to forego their Spring Break to serve veterans, the ATO fraternity has consistently raised great amounts of money for wounded warriors. This year will be their 11th time making the trek together. Last year, their total funds raised rang in at $71,000.

For Bryant Hussey, a graduate of Pike Liberal Arts School, helping veterans is something he feels a deep connection with. “I decided to walk because of my grandfather, who was a veteran, that passed away recently. I was very close to him and this stood out to me as the best way to honor him.”

Twin brothers, Logan and Stewart Wilson are graduates of Charles Henderson High School and plan to face the hike alongside each other. After watching their older brother, Cole Wilson, complete his Walk Hard experience two years ago as a brother in ATO, they are especially motivated to make it to Panama City Beach.

“Being able to walk together makes it special because we are brothers in two ways, and sharing another experience together is special. It will hopefully grow us together as brothers,” says Stewart. Logan adds, “I think being able to walk together is more special because we will now have another experience that we can connect and share with for years to come. I’m excited to finally begin this walk and am humbled that I can share it with him.”

Through support of donors, brothers, and the University, Walk Hard has grown exponentially in the past 11 years. Beginning in 2009 with just two brothers, it will now welcome almost 15 times that, with 29 brothers taking the walk in 2020. Last year, every brother completed the journey and the brothers of ATO hope for the same completion rate this year.

Brian is a returning walker, having finished the hike last year with 36 brothers. He is hungry for another year of serving the veterans of this country but knows how difficult it can be both physically and mentally. “Since I walked last year I learned that there is no way to prepare for the walk. The only thing there is to do is start walking and mentally prepare yourself for the pain you face by remembering who we walk for.”

Older brothers of ATO often cite Walk Hard as their favorite memory in their time as a fraternity brother. It truly brings the brothers together and allows them to join in aiding the men and women who have served the United States military.

Bryant is eager to begin and looks forward to the send-off on Friday. “As time gets closer to the event, people in the chapter and around campus are getting more and more excited and showing more support than ever. Now I’m just ready to hit the road and head to PCB. Ruh Rah!”

Follow along with the journey on their Facebook page, @ATOWalkHard. You can also visit their CrowdChange page, ato.crowdchange.co, to donate.