sealPurdue News

May 17, 2002

Purdue fraternity organizes fund-raiser for family of Sept. 11 victim

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at Purdue University has organized a philanthropy project called Fly the Flag to benefit a family who lost their father in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

The fraternity is selling 1-by-1 foot pieces of red, white and blue cloth that will be fashioned into a 39-by-75 flag. Each piece, which can be decorated by donors, costs $5. The fraternity plans to raise $12,000 for the World Trade Center Miracles Foundation, through which a college fund will be started for the children of the Louis and Cathy Fersini. The family has four children under the age of 9, including 2-year-old twins.

Donations will be collected through August, then the flag will be constructed. Fly the Flag organizer Matt Atkenson says the generosity of Purdue students, faculty and staff in response to the Sept. 11 tragedy inspired his fraternity to do more to help victims and their families.

"After attending events, such as the prayer vigil on Slayter Hill or the event at the Elliott Hall of Music, I knew that the Purdue community had a lot to offer," Atkenson says. "I hope that Fly the Flag reaches its potential and has a large effect on a family whose lives have been significantly changed forever."

Atkenson says the common background he shares with the Fersini family tugged at his heartstrings.

"The Fersinis have four children, like my family, made up of three boys and one girl, also like my family," he says. "Their father dreamed of playing in a golf foursome with his sons, which is something I am lucky enough to share with my father and brothers. Each family in need of donations was equally deserving, but the Fersinis touched my heart a little differently."

The fraternity also is supporting another World Trade Center Miracles Foundation event called America's Ride. A group of 911 motorcycle riders will travel from San Diego, Calif., to ground zero in New York, where they will conclude their trip on Sept. 11. The cross-country riders will stop in Indianapolis on Saturday, Sept. 7, where they will pick up the flag and a check from Pi Kappa Alpha before proceeding to ground zero.

To make a donation, contact Atkenson at (708) 448-6058, or Pi Kappa Alpha President Matt Russell at (765) 463-4887,

CONTACT: Matt Atkenson, (708) 448-6058,; Matt Russell, (765) 463-4887,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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