TROY – For Troy Mayor Jason Reeves (BSCJ 2001), Walk Hard isn’t so much about the walking as it is about honoring the memory of a former faculty member.
Reeves was on campus Thursday to meet with a group of Alpha Tau Omega students who are readying for the fraternity’s now-annual philanthropic fundraiser in which brothers hike from the Troy Campus to Panama City Beach in an effort to raise money. This year’s beneficiaries are Special Olympics of Alabama and Florida, and Camp ASCCA, the Easter Seals camp for special needs children and families.
“The ATOs came to me asked for my support, and for me it’s a way to pay tribute to Virginia Watson’s work with Special Olympics,” he said.
Watson, a physical education instructor at then Troy State University, was Reeve’s next-door neighbor and mother to his best friend. She was responsible, he said, for bringing Special Olympics to the University and the city.
“Special Olympics is just very important to me,” he said.
Too, Reeves may feel a kindred spirit with the ATO brothers. Although a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the past Student Government president participated in a fundraiser and awareness campaign where his fraternity dribbled a basketball from the steps of the State Capitol to the steps of Bibb Graves Hall.
“I might know about doing these types of unusual things to draw attention to a cause,” he said.
Walk Hard 2013 will begin on the Quad on March 8, and finish six days later and 140 miles to the south at Panama City Beach’s Pier Park. The fraternity is soliciting corporate and individual donors for the philanthropy. The effort began in 2010 when students Kyle Crabtree and Austin Bivins saw a man dressed as Superman walking down U.S. Highway 231 carrying an American flag. Curiosity sparked, they set out to organize a hike from Troy to the beach and began recruiting more participants. When the offer came to a mutual friend, they learned that despite the friend’s physical fitness he couldn’t participate due to having Type 1 diabetes. That set the stage for the group to raise money for Camp Seale Harris, a summer camp for children with diabetes that takes place at the facilities of Camp ASCCA, and exposed the fraternity to the special needs children.
To become a sponsor of Walk Hard, or for more information, contact Austin Moser at 334-808-6401
Reeves will join the ATO brothers hiking as they exit the city.