‘Walk Hard:’ Troy fraternity raises money for wounded warriors

While some college students are spending their spring break relaxing, a Troy State fraternity is using their time off from classes to continue the tradition of trekking 128.3 miles to raise funds and awareness for wounded warriors. The group crossed over the Florida stateline from Alabama on Sunday as the Alpha Tau Omega Hard Walk 2021 group passed through on a five-day walk from Troy, Ala. to Panama City Beach. As one would imagine, walking 128 miles is no easy task. The group breaks the walk down to 20-25 mile increments over a five-day period.

The brothers stopped at the Bonifay National Guard Armory for dinner and some much-needed rest before continuing through Holmes County and into Washington County, where they stayed Monday night at Sonrise Church Camp and Tuesday night at Pinelog State Park.

Now in its 11th year, the first event was small, made up of two brothers walking to support juvenile diabetes. From there, the walk grew a little each year as more brothers volunteered to spend spring break making the long walk to support others causes such as Special Olympics and the Wounded Warrior Project. In 2014, ATO turned its attention to localizing money raised by allocating it to Jeep Sullivan’s Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures, a Bonifay-based non-profit organization offering outdoor excursions to wounded warriors, veterans, and first responders. The organization’s clients take refuge in hunting, fishing, airboat tours and wildlife education with creative accommodations made for all types of disabilities.

Jeep Sullivan, formerly the assistant pastor of First Baptist Church in Bonifay, started the Wounded Warrior organization and ministry after being inspired by his father-in-law, Wayne Mitchell of Chipley, who lost a leg in Vietnam and was awarded three Purple Hearts. “We wanted to honor our soldiers,” Sullivan said. Sullivan started by reaching out to warriors wounded in Guadalcanal, WWII, Vietnam, Korea and then to younger veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. He gained more traction with the organization after Sullivan met and started receiving help from Mark McDuffie, owner of Wounded Warrior Fishing.

Since then, the combined group has been on hunting and inland fishing excursions all over the country. Sullivan attributes much of his organization’s progress over the past year to publicity and funding brought in by the ATO Hard Walk. The Hard Walk will end on today, March 10 at Pier Park Boardwalk in Panama City Beach. “It’s truly encouraging incredible that there are young people willing to give up their spring break to give their mind, body, and soul to help veterans,” said Sullivan.

Since 2014, the event has raised more than $300,000 to benefit local wounded warriors. At press time, the 2021 Walk Hard event had raised more than $60,000. To donate, visit

This article originally appeared on Washington County News: ‘Walk Hard:’ Troy fraternity raises money for wounded warriors

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