GULF COAST, Miss. (WLOX) - Seven students from Louisiana State University are on a mission to complete a 323-mile ruck march to raise money for veterans.
Traveling 323 miles on foot is hard on the body, but if it means raising money to support veterans, this group of students will do whatever it takes.
“The pain in the feet, the ankle’s swollen, the knees are swollen," said ROTC cadet Austin Firmin.
“Just got to push through the pain, that’s all there is to it," said cadet Zachary Toups. "I try to distract myself, not think about it. Listen to music or comedy on my earbuds.”
The group includes LSU Air Force ROTC cadets and members of the Marine Corps and Army. They’re raising money for the National League of POW/MIA Families and K9s for Warriors.
“There’s so much we take for granted every day and there’s veterans really struggling out there, and those charities do good work helping them," said Colin Raby, who organized the march. “It’s only right to support those who guaranteed our liberty."
The group is split in two and will walk on in shifts. They started their trek from LSU’s campus in Baton Rouge at 4:30 a.m. Friday. The plan is to reach the Eglin Air Force Base in western Florida Tuesday evening.
“We meet at checkpoints, so when we finish our eight-hour shift, we’re going to meet group two and they’re going to start walking,” Toups explained.
As they pace themselves across the Coast, they noticed a show of support from onlookers.
“Honking their horns, probably whistling at us. Sometimes if they’re really ecstatic about it. They’ll roll down the windows and stick their heads out. God bless you," said Cameron Richards, member of the U.S. Marine Corps.
While there is a long road ahead, the group hopes to make a big impact along the way.
“Just this little bit of suffering can bring glory to others, and to help them, it makes it all worthwhile," Firmin said.
To donate to their efforts and keep up with the progress of the march, CLICK HERE.