Fraternity Pays Mortgage of Former House Mom

Jessie Hamilton seated across from the brothers of FIJI at LSU presenting her with a check for her mortgage. Source: The Advocate

Sometimes, the bonds of family transcend traditional boundaries. When the fraternity brothers of Phi Gamma Delta (affectionately known as Fiji) on the campus of Louisiana State University learned that their house mom, Ms. Jessie Hamilton, needed help in order to retire, the alumni of classes 1982 to 1986 pitched in.

The Fiji alumni recalled Hamilton as not only the one who prepared their meals but “a second mom.” A single mom with three kids, Hamilton treated the young men in her care like her own children — providing them wise counsel, driving them to doctor’s appointments, and taking them to the grocery store as needed.

“I enjoyed doing it. They loved my cooking,” Hamilton told The Washington Post. “I was always there to talk things through with them. They’d come in the kitchen and sit on top of the counter and tell me their problems.”

Andrew Fusaiotti, 52 years old, was a Fiji brother in the late 1980s. He recalled Hamilton as “truly like a mother to us. She treated us like we were her own kids. She was always looking out for us.”

Struggling to find stable employment, Hamilton held several jobs over the years. In 2006 at the age of 60, Hamilton took out a 30-year mortgage. Hoping to be able to retire in her new home, Hamilton found she would struggle to maintain the mortgage if she retired.

At the start of the pandemic, Fusaiotti, now the owner of a car dealership in Mobile, Alabama, called to check in on Hamilton. To his dismay, he found that she was working multiple jobs just to make ends meet and that retirement was not going to be an option.

Deciding to intervene, Fusaiotti reached out to Hamilton’s family to ascertain how he and the fraternity alumni could help. With contributions averaging between $600 to $1,000 from about 900 alumni, Fusaiotti’s drive raised $51,765.

On April 3, the Fiji alumni gathered a few days prior to Hamilton’s 74th birthday to present her with the funds. Declaring the day “Jessie Hamilton Day,” the fraternity presented her with a check for $45,000 to pay off her mortgage and $6,675 to help Hamilton with other expenses.

Thanks to the help of Fiji, Hamilton will finally be able to hand in her two weeks’ notice.

Source: The Advocate