Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity held a fundraiser in support of Troy adjunct history professor, Joseph Arnold, whose home recently burned down.
Arnold is visually impaired, and he and his family lost his eSight device in the fire, among many other valuable items.
Though Arnold’s house will be covered by insurance, his eSight will not be. The device allowed him to actually see his daughters and his wife as well as more easily prepare lesson plans and grade his students’ work.
Arnold explained how the eSight device allowed him to see well.
“The technology enabled me, for the first time, to clearly see the world around me,” Arnold said. “The opportunity to see and recognize my daughters’ faces was, quite literally, a life-changing experience for me. Also, I was able to sit down and read regularly typed text. While most people see the $15,000 price tag and stop there, my family and I saw the $15,000 price tag and knew it was worth it because of the difference the technology made in my life.”
The fundraiser included a 24-hour bike-a-thon where a member of the fraternity would continuously ride a stationary bike from the beginning of the event on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7 a.m. to the conclusion on Friday, Oct. 7 at 7 a.m.
Hunter Gregg, a sophomore political science major from Montgomery, and philanthropy chair for Pi Kappa Phi, said other fraternity members helped plan and organize the fundraiser.
“Our president brought the idea to me about 3 weeks ago, so we had about 2 weeks to plan it,” Gregg said. “Brothers helped by spending significant amounts of their days by planning for the event, pitching it to other Greek and non-Greeks on campus, and by being there all day at the event grilling and working our tables.”
The organization also had a cook-out, a bake sale, a “pie-a-phi” booth, and an “empathy” corn hole game.
Ben Barnett, a junior biomedical sciences major from Warrior, and President of Pi Kappa Phi, said they raised awareness for disabilities by having activities that show students what it would be like to be visually impaired.
“Empathy corn hole is where people play corn hole blindfolded to see what it’s like to do that it darkness,” Barnett said. “It’s a way to show what it’s like to do something that we do every day and that we take for granted.”
Julia Grimsley, a sophomore accounting major from Colquitt, Georgia said she baked some cookies for the fundraiser event.
“Mr. Arnold is my Western Civilization professor and I wanted to contribute in some way,” Grimsley said.
Arnold and his wife came out to the event and spent some time with the brothers that organized it.
“As a Trojan alum, and as a first-term instructor on campus, I am humbled to know that the University is still so much a family,” Arnold said. “From the moment of the fire, University personnel, students, and faculty members have reached out to our family. This level of heartfelt generosity cannot be found just anywhere. I hope I can somehow, someday have the opportunity to pay forward all the kindness that has been shown to me by fellow Trojans.”
“He (Arnold) is too modest to ask for anything,” Barnett said. “But whenever he heard about this, it’s so much more than just our philanthropy, this is someone in our community here in Troy. Something had to be done for him.”
$1,064 was raised at the event and $1,605 has been raised on the fundraiser’s GoFundMe which can be found at gofundme.com/CallingAllTrojans. The fundraiser goal is $15,000 to cover the cost of Arnold’s eSight device.