27 February 2015
MIDN 3C Sean Gipson
STATE COLLEGE, PA—On Friday February 20th the THON Hope Express concluded the final leg of its 135 miles trek from Hershey Medical Center to the Bryce Jordan Centre for the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, commonly referred to as THON. This year marks the 9th year where runners have carried letters from the families in Hersey to the kids at THON. Coming around the corner from Burrows on to Curtain, the runners faced the wind one last time before delivering the letters and kicking off the dance marathon, but they were not alone.
Midshipmen and Cadets of Penn State’s Naval and Reserve Officer Training Corps stood in formation, waiting and ready to escort the runners through the final leg of their journey. As the Hope Express runners passed by, the ROTC formation fell in behind to protect and motivate the modern day version of the pony express. At each intersection midshipmen of Marine Corps NROTC Charlie Company fell out as road guards to make way for the VIPs. As the group and formation neared the BJC drivers and onlookers honked and cheered. At the intersection of Curtain Road and University a group of bystanders formed a gauntlet and finish line tunnel, welcoming the Hope Express.
Their work done, the ROTC formation called a company halt and fall out. Many students quickly went to change to rejoin the THON festivities while others went about their business, their contribution complete.