Alumni of the LSU fraternity Phi Gamma Delta, commonly known as FIJI, recently donated over fifty thousand dollars to former house cook Jessie Hamilton to pay off her mortgage and celebrate her 74th birthday.
Jessie served as FIJI’s cook for 14 years where she made a lasting impact on countless alumni. According to FIJI alumnus and donor Johnny Joubert, Hamilton had been avoiding retirement and working two jobs so that she could pay off her home mortgage.
When Joubert and fellow FIJI alumnus Andrew Fusaiotti discovered she had yet to retire due to financial reasons, they began reaching out to other FIJI alumni for donations. Joubert said everyone was eager to help.
“Back when we were in FIJI we were all impressionable young men and really didn't have anything to offer the world, and Jessie took us in as her own,” Joubert said.
“When we found out she was still working, it was an easy thing to do," he continued. "We said we were going to help pay her back for all of the good things she did for us while we were in the fraternity.”
The donation was organized and produced by FIJI alumni, but current FIJI members, including Chapter President Chris Wauldron, think that they can learn a lot from their act of service.
“[The alumni are] great role models to them,” Wauldron said. “They see what they can do after not seeing each other for the past 30 years. Everyone has family, kids and careers, and they come together and support the same values that we’re taught."
"It shows them that it's more than the college days alone, it’s a relationship of a lifetime,” he said.
Joubert said that Hamilton is an incredible person, and he is thankful he and his FIJI brothers were able to help her.
"She's just a one of a kind person that enters your life, stays there for a long time, and is just someone we should all try to emulate and aspire to be like," he said. "She was just that type of person and is still today, and to me she hasn't changed a lick. We’ve all aged but she has not changed at all.”