Kappa Sigma and members of the Washburn community sacrificed their Friday night for veterans as part of the inaugural Military Heroes Gala held at the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center.
A valet parking area was set up at the entrance between White Concert Hall and the Alumni Center, courtesy of Kappa Sigma.
Individuals were greeted by two Kappa Sigma gentlemen as they approached the main entrance. After entering, another two Kappa Sigma members welcomed guests at a second set of doors, and it was followed by a grand double-door entrance.
The event was free to veterans and their families. It cost $10 for community members.
The proceeds of this event went to the part of the fraternity's philanthropy called the Military Services Campaign, and the family of Terry Ralston. Besides the cost of admission for the civilian population, there was also a multi-item silent auction going on throughout the event, and a cash bar to raise funds.
The night’s speeches came from esteemed men of the community including Zack Willis, Washburn University Alumni and graduated Kappa Sigma member, Chris Bowers, Washburn’s Military Transition Coordinator, Washburn University President Jerry Farley and Attorney General Derek Schmidt.
There was also a wonderful video from American Hero, Tammie Jo Shults who delivered a veteran’s day hello.
“It was so fantastic to see so many students from Washburn willing to sacrifice their Friday night in support of veterans,” said Bowers.
Bowers spoke at the event and received a Military Heroes Campaign Dedication to Service award, an “L shaped ambush” as he called it. He was surprised to have received the award, but was exceedingly thankful and humble when he did.
The event was organized by Stephan Simmons, a senior history major and member of Kappa Sigma.
“I thought it went as well as it could. Attendance was optimal. We raised over $4000, with over 130 people there,” said Simmons. “We had a great evening.”
Planning this event was “no joke” and Stephan named the hardest part of the event was getting sponsors. With help from his Kappa Sigma brother Rocky Landwehr, who also received a Dedication to Service award, they pulled some major sponsors for the event.
“My favorite part of the event was being able to give those awards to Chris and Rocky, giving recognition to guys that made the event what it is,'' said Simmons.
Simmons wanted the university to know more about the various programs designed to help veterans.
“Keep your eyes out for the Military Heroes Campaign. It’s an umbrella organization that covers four to six different programs, and it goes from Veterans Moving Forward and the SEAL Legacy Foundation,” said Simmons.
The event will be returning next year.
It was a night that shed a light on the true heart of Washburn University. 25% of the proceeds from the night will be donated to Terry Ralston’s family, who lost their daughter in a car accident last week.
“They missed out on a worthwhile event. If there is any way they can make this event next year, they will be glad they attended it,” said Bowers.
Edited by Adam White, Wesley Tabor, Jason Morrison