TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — As The University of Alabama and Auburn University prepare to meet on the football field, student veterans from both institutions will march across the state to bring awareness to veteran suicide.
Members of UA’s Crimson Legion will join Auburn’s Student Veterans Association for the fifth annual Operation Iron Ruck that will begin in Auburn Nov. 23 and end in Tuscaloosa Nov. 26 ahead of the Iron Bowl.
“Almost every veteran and service member’s life has been touched by veteran suicide at some point,” said Tiffany Laurie, president of the UA Crimson Legion.
During the 151-mile trip, each student veteran will hike approximately 50 miles and walk for 2 ½ hours before climbing into a support vehicle for about five hours of rest before their next hike.
Each participant will carry donated materials throughout the march. Items donated will be delivered to Bill Nichols State Veterans Home, Mission 22, Tuskegee Veterans Assisted Living Centers, and Three Hots and a Cot.
According to Laurie, the goal of Operation Iron Ruck is to set aside the rivalry between the two universities and promote camaraderie among student veterans while giving back to veterans around the state.
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.