During Veterans Day Weekend, the Alpha Tau chapter at Hampden-Sydney College and the Zeta chapter at Randolph-Macon College presented an all-terrain track chair to retired Navy veteran Heather Miner during halftime of the football game between the schools.
Former Number I Dominic Pastore (Alpha Tau–Hampden-Sydney) thought of teaming up with the Zeta chapter during a leadership conference.
“I thought about the opportunity to present the track chair at “The Game.” Randolph-Macon and Hampden-Sydney have similar chapter sizes, which made it more manageable. I discussed the opportunity with the Randolph-Macno president, and he was on board with it.”
The two chapters teamed up to raise nearly $21,000 for The Independence Fund to sponsor the track chair for Heather.
Heather enlisted in 2003 and was stationed in Japan on the USS Essex for 14 months before being deployed to help in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where she suffered a spinal cord injury on the ship. Due to her injury, she has lost the use of her lower extremities. She was predominately retired by the Navy at the grade of E-3. Heather and her spouse have four children and are passionate about serving the underprivileged.
“I thought it was very special that both chapters could come together at “The Game” and show that smaller organizations can make a big impact.” – Dwayne Bowyer ’92, Associate Dean of Students for Student Conduct & Character and Director of Greek Life
In 2016, the Zeta Phi Chapter partnered with The Independence Fund and began a student-led initiative aimed at raising money to provide Track Chairs for wounded veterans, and has given away eight track chairs to date. Additionally, the initiative spread to other chapters with members of the chapter sharing best practices and providing support. Across the Order, nearly $1 million has been raised and donated to provide track chairs and support The Independence Fund’s programs that help veterans overcome physical and psychological wounds of war.