Walk Hard finishes strong with biggest fundraiser yet

The annual Alpha Tau Omega fundraising walk brought in more than $70,000 to help veterans.

The annual Alpha Tau Omega fundraising walk brought in more than $70,000 to help veterans.

When more than 30 members of Troy University’s Alpha Tau Omega fraternity finally arrived at  Panama City Beach, Florida, Wednesday, after six days of walking, they had an extra reason to celebrate.

This year’s Walk Hard fundraising walk raised $71,000 for charity, the largest amount yet for the event, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary.

“This year was one of the most special years for Walk Hard,” said Student Government President and Walk Hard Director Gus McKenzie. “This being the anniversary, we all wanted to blow everyone away. Getting all 36 men all the way from Troy to Panama City Beach shows how tough this group is. They pushed each other, learned from each other and gained stronger relationships with each other.”

The roughly 130-mile journey on foot is one that plenty of ATO brothers have made now, but it’s no less challenging than it was when the event began in 2009.

This year’s event raised the most money yet for Jeep Sullivan’s Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures, a Bonifay, Florida-based nonprofit that takes veterans on therapeutic outdoor excursions.

“The amount raised was something we put a large focus on from the beginning,” McKenzie said. “The walkers, support team and chapter brothers worked very hard to reach their goal. We know that the money we raise is changing the lives of people in our community, and that is something that we take seriously. We are very excited to be able to allow Jeep to provide happiness and comfort to these veterans.”

The amount exceeded ATO’s $60,000 goal.

For several years, Walk Hard has been the primary annual fundraiser for Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures.