Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work- both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring the ATO WalkHard Team. The ATO WalkHard is a six-day, 125-mile hike from Troy, Alabama to Panama City Beach, Florida. 15 Brothers of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity participate in this annual event to raise awareness and money for the Wounded Warrior Project. This upcoming spring break will mark the fifth year that Alpha Tau Omega has held this event.
What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
Being presented a Proclamation for “Walk Hard Day” from Mayor Gayle F. Oberst of Panama City Beach while being featured on Travel Channel’s upcoming documentary series “Spring Break 24/7”.
How did you achieve it?
It was achieved by a dedicated ATO WalkHard committee that reached out to several media outlets and public dignitaries in order to receive a vast pool of support for Special Olympics in 2013. Several meetings and presentations were made in order for others to understand our cause and felt led to assist.
What motivates you to make the world a better place?
What motivates these fraternity brothers during their 125+ mile walk is the thought of making a statement to every person that passes them along the way. There have been instances where people see a large group of guys walking down the highway with camping backpacks on and have a sudden urge to simply stop and ask, “Why are you guys walking so far, and what for?” These brothers feel enthusiastic to share with them that they are raising money for a particular charity. For this upcoming year, these walkers will be raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
During the months leading up to the week long walk, all brothers participate in routine exercises that range from running a set amount of time on the treadmill, to dedicating a half-day of simply walking around campus with a few friends. Each of these walkers have different methods to prepare both physically and mentally for the week long walk.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice that the ATO WalkHard team has received was by a gentleman by the name of Billy Williams. Mr. Williams was a boiler technician on the USS Nassau (LHA-4). He contacted us in early 2013 and told us how much he truly appreciated all that we did for the community. Before the walkers left for Panama City Beach, Mr. Williams asked that they carry his challenge coin throughout the entire journey. Also, he informed us that he would buy the coin back from the walkers when they arrived in Panama City Beach. Just a few minutes before leaving, he gathered all of the walkers together and said, “Always remember that striving and struggle precede success, even in the dictionary.” This quote stuck with each walker as they progressed forward.
What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
Our favorite aspect involves the fact that every step they take makes a substantial difference to many people suffering. In our case, we have all selected the Wounded Warrior Project as our charity of choice.
Who do you exercise for, and why?
We exercise for all of those who have risked their lives to defend our country. For ten years now, the Wounded Warrior Project has offered a variety of programs, service and events for wounded veterans of the military. As a result, countless injured service men and women have received assistance to help them transition back to a civilian lifestyle. This charity means a great deal to our walkers and fraternity as a whole and we are honored to give back to them through our event.