Monday, December 15, 2008

Trane McCloud family gets a Christmas gift from SigEps

When TN Alpha SigEp Trane McCloud was killed in Iraq, his brothers took to heart the charge to come to a brother's aid should he "fall into the hands of enemies." This year Wade Hutchens, his fellow TN Alpha alums, and other SigEps found a way to make Trane's Birthday, which comes close to Christmas, a joyful occasion for his widow, Maggie, and the kids Hayden, Grace, and Meghan.

Brother Renato Villacourte (CA Mu '94) works with the Snowball Express Project, which helps children of those who have been killed in action, and he contacted Wade for fundraising help when the McCloud family was selected to be part of this year's event. The Tennessee Alpha alums rose to the challenge and the McCloud family will be participating in the 2008 Snowball Express Event taking place this week at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.

The items below are the emails that Maggie and Wade sent out today thanking all those who helped out. What a great story that shows the real 'holiday spirit' and how brothers really do live the Cardinal Principles.
Brothers,

Timing is everything. I received this email from Maggie McCloud today (that she wanted to be forwarded to all the Tennessee Alpha Sig Eps I have on my contact list). I had no idea when Brother Renato Villacorte informed us of the great news that the McCloud’s had been selected to participate in this Christmas’ Snowball Express Disney event that the trip fell only one day after what would have been Trane’s 42nd birthday. When you look at the photo you will see that your contributions turned what would have been a day of heartbreak and gloom into a special memory those children will have forever.

It is this kind of magic that Christmas is all about! To have so many of you wanting to help almost 20 years after we all moved out of 1832 Fraternity Park Drive makes me even more certain today than when I pledged in the Fall of 1985 that brotherhood in Sigma Phi Epsilon is truly a lifelong gift.

On a related note, I apologize for not having the scholarship announcement ready for the McCloud children[...]. I hope to finally have all the details of the establishment of the scholarship and where to send contributions in the next day or two.

Fraternally,
Wade Hutchens
...And Maggie McCloud's letter...
From: Maggie McCloud
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 12:25 AM
To: Renato Villacorte; Douglass Derrick; Wade Hutchens
Subject: The news

Today would have been Trane’s 42nd Birthday. We had our traditional pancake and bacon birthday dinner – his favorite, and then after Krispy Kreme donuts (also his favorite, in lieu of cake) I told them that their Dad had a gift for them – that all of Dad’s friends had a gift for him. I gave them the cards. To say they were speechless is an understatement, but when they could finally speak again they didn’t stop.

Thanks to all. They can’t wait. I was proven quite correct to hold off telling them for so long. Ok, I have done NOTHING in terms of packing, wash, etc, so I am off for a late night. Thanks to all of you for making my kid’s holiday, and their Dad’s birthday a bit brighter. I reminded them again of how blessed they are to have a Dad who touched so many people in his own life, that so many people care about them.

With aloha,
Maggie

Doug and Wade – sorry, I couldn’t immediately find other UT email addresses – please share my thanks.
PS - I didn't tell them to wear those shirts. They came down for dinner dressed like that. Go Vols!
As a TN Alpha member, I was proud to have a chance to help out this family of a brother I never met but wish I had.