A Letter of Thanks
Frater Ronald Reagan once said, "We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone." And while I can't say for certain that Frater Reagan was the originator of these wise words, I am glad that he placed them in the forefront of all of our hearts and minds. It is with great pride, that we at Headquarters are able to share with you the following letter of gratitude. TKE stands for Love Charity and Esteem. We all know this and we all strive to live these ideals in our daily lives by regularly serving our communities in whatever small way that we can. It is not as often, however, that we are allowed to glimpse how truly powerful each of these small acts of service can be. And for that, we give our thanks to Caitlin O'Brien-Rice of the Pittsburgh office of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Caitlin sent us this letter of thanks in response to the work of the Tau Phi Chapter of TKE at the University of Pittsburgh. We have published her email in its entirety below.
My name is Caitlin and I work in the Pittsburgh office of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I am reaching out to you to express my sincere delight in working with the members of the Tau Phi chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon at the University of Pittsburgh. As the lead staff person for Pittsburgh events for ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with the generous and kind brothers of Tau Kappa Epsilon in support of the mission of St. Jude.
I first partnered with the members of Tau Phi chapter in the summer of 2016 as preparation for the 2016 Pittsburgh St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer. Not only were the chapter officers thoughtful in their fundraising and recruitment strategy leading up to the event, but each and every member who attended the event happily offered his hand to volunteer. The brothers of TKE were the first ones at the event and the last ones to leave, offering to help with the not-so-glamorous tasks that not all volunteers were willing to take on. I had many people come up to me during and after the event to say how impressed they were to see fraternity men out in such large numbers and with such pride for giving back to the community.
Since that time, I have continued to be impressed by the thoughtfulness and dedication of the members of the Tau Phi chapter of TKE. The members are eager to stay involved with our St. Jude efforts in the Pittsburgh area, and volunteered at the 2017 Pittsburgh St. Jude Gala this past May. Once again, the men proved to be trustworthy, reliable and outstanding advocates for the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I was proud to witness them represent TKE while connecting with our region’s corporate and philanthropic leaders at the Pittsburgh St. Jude Gala.
Over the past year I have thought from time to time about reaching out to someone at TKE to articulate my gratitude for the dedication of these young men. I finally feel compelled to send a note after a conversation I had this past Friday with the Chapter President, Ethan Marra. Ethan has volunteered at both the 2016 Pittsburgh St. Jude Walk/Run, and again at the 2017 Pittsburgh St. Jude Gala. As the current Chapter President, he and I scheduled a phone call to touch base so that I could learn more about his goals for the Tau Phi chapter and how I can support their efforts throughout the upcoming academic year.
During our phone conversation, I found myself taken aback by Ethan’s ability to so impressively express his appreciation for the partnership between Tau Kappa Epsilon and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. His desire to do more for the kids of St. Jude, which is a sentiment embodied by all members of the Tau Phi chapter, is humbling for me to encounter. In my role as an ALSAC staff member, I interact with donors and volunteers from many walks of life. The passion and commitment of the brothers of the Tau Phi chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon are among the most earnest and inspiring of any donors I have the privilege of working with.
It is clear to me that for the brothers of the Tau Phi chapter, their partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is much more than a simple philanthropic commitment. The basic functions their member experience have been enriched by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (and St. Jude has been positively impacted by the members of TKE). As a proud and active alumna member of Tri Delta, it is a joy for me to see the value of fraternity membership deepened in younger generations of bold leaders. I am excited to continue to work with the Tau Phi chapter as we support the mission of St. Jude — finding cures and saving children.
Thank you for taking time to read this email, Nate, and for all that you do to support the members of TKE and your partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I found your contact information on the TKE website, so if there is a better point of contact with whom this email should be shared, please feel free to pass along.
For the kids,
Caitlin O’Brien-Rice, Sr. Regional Development Representative
ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital