PIKE fundraiser honors fallen brothers among 75 plane crash victims

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Marshall University’s Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity members are remembering those who they lost from the 1970 Marshall University plane crash by selling memorial wristbands.

Pike members have begun their annual sale of wristbands at the Memorial Student Center.

Members sell rubber wristbands every year to raise money for their alumni association. The association helps the Marshall chapter pay for repair on memorials in case they are vandalized or break. Some proceeds help go to the fraternity’s scholarship fund.

“We do this fundraiser every year,” Bryan Bozeman, public relations major, said. “It’s a great way to remember the five Pi Kappa Alpha brothers who died in the plane crash.”

The 1970s plane crash took the lives of all 75 members on board. Of those 75 members, five were members of Pi Kappa Alpha.

“Whenever we have Homecoming and events like that, we normally have guys from the plane crash era that knew the five brothers come and buy the bands and tell us stories about watching them play football and being Pike brothers with them,” Bozeman said. “It’s a good thing for the alumni and a good way for us to do a fundraiser.”

The front of the Pi Kappa Alpha house features a memorial statue of football player James “Jimo” Adams one of the football players who passed away in the crash.

“This one man came by the house the day before Homecoming one year who was really good friends with James ‘Jimo’ Adams,” Bozeman said. “He told us a bunch of funny stories about how they used to hangout and play football together.”

Every year on the anniversary of the plane crash, members of the fraternity dress up and have what they call a “Jimo ceremony.” Members go out to the memorial statue in their front yard and share memories they have had with their brothers since joining the fraternity.

“We also have a man that comes by the house every year and plays the bagpipes in front of the memorial on Homecoming since he was best friends with James as well,” Bozeman said. “He plays the song ‘Amazing Grace.’”

This year’s wristband is made of black rubber and says, “Rise from the Ashes, November 14, 1970.”

“The past few years we have seen great student participation and this year the turn out has been really well,” Bozeman said. “We made the wristbands black this year to go along with the blackout game that Marshall is having on the 14th this month. Thankfully, many people have reached out and supported it.”

Pi Kappa Alpha will continue to sell the wristbands for another two to three weeks in the Memorial Student Center.

Riley Mahoney can be contacted at [email protected]

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