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ROTC Rudolph Ruck and Toy Drive invites campus, public to join in holiday fun

Then-Cadet Natalie Wilson ’22 during a 2021 ROTC 5K ruck.

Last updated November 18, 2022

By Clinton Colmenares, Director of News and Media Strategy

Two ROTC cadets in full camo gear at night, smiling.

Cadet Mary Spangler ’23 and Cadet Josephine Geraghty ’23 at a 2021 ruck.

Santa and his reindeer will take a warmup holiday ruck march on the Swamp Rabbit Trail with cadets from Furman’s ROTC battalion on Saturday, Dec. 3, starting at 8:30 a.m. The public is invited to join the first annual Rudolph Ruck and Toy Drive. Participants are encouraged to bring a new toy to donate to patients at the Prisma Health Children’s Hospital.

A ruck is a hike, march or fast walk. It also refers to the ruck sack soldiers carry on their backs. The Furman ROTC cadets, who recently won the Army ROTC Ranger Challenge, will carry 35-pound ruck sacks on a 10K out-and-back course, starting and ending at the Furman campus entrance to the SRT near Furman Lake. The cadets have also marked a 5K out-and-back route for people who don’t want to go as far.

Cadet Santa and eight cadet reindeer will start the ruck after opening comments from Lt. Col. Sarah Whitten. People of all ages are encouraged to dress festively to help create the holiday vibe, and to walk or run at their pace. Dogs are invited, too, if they won’t chase the reindeer. The cadets will have a photobooth and hot cocoa and cookies for everyone at the finish.

“Not many people have personal relationships with someone in the military. We thought this event would be a great way for the community to connect with someone in the military,” said Cadet Mary Spangler, a senior from Fort Belvoir, Virginia, who is organizing the event.

“One of our main missions of the battalion is to have a very strong relationship with the community. We want them to understand and be exposed to the type of training we are committed to, but we also want to start a conversation about our battalion and our commitment service in general. It’s a sense of service that military members carry throughout their careers,” Spangler said.

Parking for the public will be off Duncan Chapel Road. Turn onto Dins Drive by the Paladins softball stadium and follow directions behind Alley Gym on the left.

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Clinton Colmenares
Director of News and Media Strategy