ATO brothers prepare for 2023 Walk Hard journey

TROY, Ala. (TROJANVISION) — It is a big week for TROY fraternity Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) as members prepare to travel from Troy to Panama City Beach, Florida, completey on foot.

“We walk for Jeep Sullivan’s Wounded Veterans and Outdoor Adventures,” explained ATO brother Troy Morgan. “We walk from Troy Alabama to Panama City, 128.3 miles, in six days.”

Over the past 14 years, the event has grown to a national level.

“I definitely think it’s an amazing thing that we’re getting recognized on a national level,” said ATO member Cole Pierce. “As much as you love the attention being on the news and stuff, it’s just great because now it’s not just a local thing. We’re getting it out all across the country and people sending donations from many states over. They’re hearing about our story, talking about it on Facebook. I think that affects where they are locally, too. It gets them involved with similar ideas and similar foundations.”

Last week, walkers traveled to Montgomery where they were recognized by Gov. Kay Ivey. It was a moment some brothers say underscored the impact the event makes.

“We’re about to start something that most people would love to do,” said ATO brother Chase Durden.

Members say this year’s goal is to keep moving forward and to raise more money than last year.

In the days leading up to the event, walkers will participate in Spirit Nights as well as attend the annual Girls Walk Harder event, where ladies walk six miles around campus.

“Girls Walk Harder is just a way to get our sororities and a lot of our friends to just get more involved and help and spread the message of what this means to us,” Pierce said.

The brothers will leave from Troy University’s main quad on Friday, March 10 at 8 a.m. They expect to arrive in Panama City Beach on Wednesday, March 15.