When members of Kettering University’s Sigma Chi fraternity learned that one of their brothers had never met his grandparents, they were determined to help him.
Within nine hours, they’d raised more than $1,700 to pay for a plane ticket for Dward Kue ‘18.
“We had no idea the GoFundMe page would do so well. When we were setting it up with a $1,500 goal, we felt like it was kind of lofty. We were shooting for $900 at best,” said Sean Catt ‘17, scholarship chair for Sigma Chi. “We were blown away that we covered the full amount and then some. The outpouring of support just speaks volumes about who Dward is.”
Kue was so overwhelmed that tears of joy were the only way for him to express his gratitude.
“I became so overwhelmed with gratitude and love that I pretty much cried for the next five minutes,” Kue said. “I only stopped for a short time to tell everyone present how thankful I was and that I loved them.”
The idea to raise money for Kue was sparked in January when he had shared in a meeting that he had never met his grandparents in Thailand and wished he could travel to see them. Kue expressed the possibility of living out of the fraternity house in order to save up money for the trip. He had no idea it would lead to them taking action on his behalf.
Meeting his grandparents was something very important to Kue.
“I had come to this decision after talking to my grandmother during the holidays,” he said. “My father passed away five years ago, and she was crying and telling me how much she missed him and as I was trying to comfort her, I realized that there was very little I could do over the phone. I have never been to Thailand and I have never met my grandparents. I was stricken by regret as I was unable to even hug her or draw on any past experiences to comfort her. I could only think that I would forever regret it if they passed and the only interactions we had were phone calls and recordings.”
The following day Catt and Sigma Chi President Conor Barry ‘17 created GoFundMe account, but neither of them had any idea how quickly it would catch on.
“People who donated said, ‘This is one of the most worthwhile things I spent money on because I know Dward would do the same thing for me,’” Barry said.
Everyone knows Kue as kind, general and very hardworking, said Catt, who also works with him.
“He puts in a tremendous amount of overtime at work for school and for this trip, paying all his bills out of pocket,” Catt said. “We heard him tell that story of his grandparents in Thailand and thought it would be really cool to at least help pay for his trip.”
And so on Sunday, February 7, during the Super Bowl halftime show, they did a surprise presentation. Kue was a little confused at first, Barry said.
“As soon as I said his name he just lost it. He was completely speechless,” Catt said. “It really showed what brotherhood is all about in the sense that we all came together to help one of our members and to realize a goal and a dream.”
Kue said he has been having a hard time vocalizing how thankful he truly is for everyone who contributed.
“The fact that I can just let them know about one of my struggles and that they would see it as something they had to help me with is amazing and something I never expected,” Kue said. “I can only say how thankful I am to those who took it upon themselves to help me achieve something so important to me. I feel very honored and loved and I can only hope to reciprocate those feelings to them throughout our days here.”