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ATO fraternity brothers arrive at Panama City Beach

On Wednesday afternoon, 36 members of the Troy University chapter of Alpha Tau Omega walked into Pier Park in Panama City Beach, Florida, for an unusual spring break celebration.

The 36 fraternity brothers had just completed a 128-mile hike that begin last Friday at the quad on Troy’s main campus. It was the culminating day for the fraternity’s annual Walk Hard funrdraiser for Jeep Sullivan’s Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures. 

The fraternity brothers weren’t just celebrating the end of a long, hard road — the were celebrating a fundraising milestone of $90,000. This is the fraternity’s 12th Walk Hard, which usually raises around $60,000. The fraternity’s previous record was $72,000.

“This is a pretty good feeling,” ATO Walk Hard Director Josh Marvin said. “It’s the culmination of a whole lot of really, really hard work and us working together as a team.”

Marvin said the fraternity had set its fundraising goal at $60,000 for the year. He said there was a lot of uncertainty this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said in the beginning, he told the hikers he didn’t even know if the fraternity would be able to walk this year because of the coronavirus.

But, Marvin said everyone bought in and put in a lot of hard work not knowing what the outcome would be. But, in the end, he said, the pandemic may have helped their fundraising efforts. Marvin said the pandemic and all of the social restrictions it created ended up giving them a lot more time to focus on fundraising, which paid off in the end.

Jeep Sullivan’s Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures helps “wounded veterans move beyond the challenges so they can find freedom, joy, and healing in the great outdoors.”