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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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18-mile march commemorates the raising of $113,000 for prenatal health

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Cody Franklin
March to the Brazos (1)

More than 2,200 from the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets made an 18-mile trek starting and ending at the Quad Saturday for the 39th annual March to the Brazos.

The Corps raised $113,000 for the March of the Dimes, a nonprofit that works to prevent premature births and aid children with birth defects. 

Becky Goss-Shepherd, March of Dimes division director for the Waco-Temple-Kileen and Bryan-College Station areas, said it was amazing to see the Corps, whose outfits compete to raise the most money, come together at the March to the Brazos. 

“It’s amazing to watch them all come together because [we’ve] been working with them all as individuals and groups and that sort of thing, so this day is really more about the celebration of it,” Goss-Shepherd said. 

Breanne Gorbutt, community director of the Brazos Valley chapter of March of Dimes, said each outfit varies in what they do to raise money.

“Some send their guys out with their Corps boots and they go door to door in Houston or in Dallas and collect money that way,” Gorbutt said. “Some it’s just all parents, some hold barbecues — it’s just different for every outfit.”

The March to the Brazos serves as the largest student-run funding event in the nation for March of Dimes. This year, David Gardner’s Jewelers contributed to the competitive spirit among the outfits by donating a watch bearing the recently updated Texas A&M seal to each outfit for them to raffle off. The watches raised more than $27,000, said Randy Lunsford, Class of 1989 and sales manager with David Gardner’s.

To promote competitive spirit among the units, Commander Dennis Hassman, Texas A&M Corps of Cadets training officer, said the top-10 outfits in raising money get to choose a football game in the fall to be on the sideline.

“A lot of outfits, some of them will pick a game they know they get to travel to, like the Arkansas game up in Dallas or out of state,” Hassman said. “And then others say, ‘I want Alabama.’”

Steve Fullhart, KBTX managing editor and anchor and March to the Brazos emcee, said the Corps displayed unity in its fundraising. 

“You guys do things together — that’s part of the mission of this Corps, to develop leaders together to benefit others,” Fullhart said. “That’s what has happened here.” 

Alyssa Michalke, commander of the Corps of Cadets for 2015-2016, said the event is meant to be a bonding experience for cadets, bringing them together on the tiring 18-mile march and in serving the community.

“It’s been a great day, it’s nice and cool out here, it’s a lot of good bull,” Michalke said. “You get to interact with your juniors and seniors and joke all the way, listen to music. It’s a good bonding experience.”

The event also served as an informal transfer of ranks for cadets.

The money raised will go towards March of Dimes initiatives, Fullhart said.

“So share your story in this time together, in this time of fellowship and know your money is going to go towards research that is happening across the country, yes, but also right here at Texas A&M that could one day end this issue of premature birth,” Fullhart said.

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