Brothers of the Gamma Kappa Chapter at University of Colorado Boulder are rallying behind the family of a brother who entered Chapter Eternal unexpectedly earlier this month. On November 10, 2015, Br. TJ Virgin (Colorado) entered Chapter Eternal following a tragic airplane accident near Akron, Ohio.
Brothers of the Gamma Kappa Chapter learned of the tragic accident by the early morning hours the next day. Ryan Lynch, a close friend and fellow Gamma Kappa Chapter alumnus, started notifying brothers of the tragic news. Ryan says the reactions ranged from shock to heartbreak after learning about the loss of a cherished member of their chapter, going all the way back to their days as candidates.
Dozens of brothers reached out to express condolences and offer support. By the evening of November 11, one day after the accident, close to 50 alumni brothers reached out to Ryan offering support for TJ’s widow, Andrea, and their 4-month-old daughter, Victoria. The chapter decided to set up a GoFundMe page where brothers and friends could provide financial support.
“Any time a brother had fallen on rough times, whether it was slipping grades, a difficult break-up, or family problems, TJ was always one of the first people there to offer support.”
The chapter set an initial fundraising goal of $5000 and distributed the link to the Gamma Kappa alumni directory. They intend to fund a memorial plaque at the chapter home in Boulder and start a college fund for TJ’s young daughter, Victoria.
The response was overwhelming as the alumni rallied to raise more than $5,000 in less than three hours. The fundraising goal was then doubled to $10,000, which was met only three days later. Ryan Lynch, TJ’s candidate class brother, says the chapter is confident they can achieve the new goal of $20,000 in the coming weeks.
“What I have learned from this experience is that brotherhood never dies,” Ryan says. “Brothers from my Sigma Nu class now live all over the world, and while we may have lost touch for periods of time, our brotherhood will live on forever.”
Ryan says TJ will be remembered as one of the most caring, intelligent, and friendly individuals he’s ever known. “Any time a brother had fallen on rough times, whether it was slipping grades, a difficult break-up, or family problems, TJ was always one of the first people there to offer support.”
While TJ won’t be around to watch his daughter grow up, Ryan knows Victoria Virgin has dozens of Sigma Nu “uncles” who will always love and protect her. “TJ’s legacy will live on through his daughter, Victoria,” Ryan says.
TJ’s chapter brothers know he’ll be remembered as someone who lived his life in a manner that truly echoed the Creed of Sigma Nu. “He believed in the life of love, he walked in the way of honor and he served in the light of truth,” Ryan says. “Love, Honor and Truth — that was Thomas “TJ” Virgin.”
Brothers from other chapters around the country are welcome and encouraged to support Gamma Kappa Chapter’s fundraising effort during this time. Brothers wishing to lend the helping hand can do so by visiting the GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/5w9vaen8. Proceeds will benefit Victoria Virgin’s college fund.