Jessie Hamilton worked as a cook at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house at Louisiana State University in the 1980s. The frat nickname: Fiji.
A single mom with kids of her own, she treated the young frat men like her own sons.
Hamilton listened to their worries, gave advice, and even drove them around to to doctor’s appointments or the grocery store.
Over the years, Hamilton stayed in touch with several of the fraternity brothers, among them Andrew Fusaiotti, who now owns a car dealership in Mobile, Alabama.
When the pandemic started, he called Hamilton to see how she was doing, and learned that she was working multiple jobs to support her family, and to pay a mortgage she had taken out. Retirement was not an option, and probably wouldn’t be for a very long time.
Fusaiotti started contacting his frat brothers for financial donations to pay off her mortgage. About 900 Alumnae kicked in.
Right before her 74th birthday, the men of Fiji declared April 3 “Jessie Hamilton Day”, throwing a catered party where they presented her with two giant checks like you see on TV: one for $45,000 to pay off the mortgage and another $7,000 check just because.