Club & Greek

To Rid the Debris

Tau Kappa Epsilon Joins Together for Hurricane Relief


The brothers of Tau Kappa Epsilon gathered on Sunday, November 11 in Point Pleasant to help families affected by Hurricane Sandy to clean their house of debris.

TKE member Lorenzo Russomanno organized the cleanup. “Community service is a big part of being in a fraternity; we always have this sense of wanting to give back. My e-Board position in TKE puts me in charge of planning and organizing all community service events,” Russomanno said.

“Lorenzo and I had been in contact with each other for a while and he was so anxious to get out there and do something for these people,” said Christa Hogan, TKE advisor. Hogan has been advising the fraternity for about a year. She knew of a couple, Kathy and Scott Emery, from Point Pleasant that needed help gutting their home for repairs.

“She shared a story with them about friends of hers that were trying to get some debris out of their house so that the town could clean it up and they could use an extra hand or two,” said Jon Buchalski, Assistant Director of Greek Life. “They took the story and actually did something with it,” he said.

“It was overwhelming,” Hogan said in reference to how many TKE brothers showed up to help. Twenty-four TKE members, including alumni showed up in Point Pleasant to help the family clean out their home. Within 20 minutes, the brothers had moved everything the family needed removed from the house to the curb.

“When I heard and saw all of the disaster and destruction caused from Hurricane Sandy, I knew I wanted to organize something that could really help out hurricane victims hands on,” said Russomanno. After they helped the initial family, they walked through the town of Point Pleasant offering help to anyone in need.

Hogan originally did not plan on staying for the duration of the clean-up, but was afraid the citizens in Point Pleasant would fear that the brothers were looters and not volunteers.

“My seven year old daughter and I stayed to help as a buffer,” Hogan said. She continued, “They must have helped a dozen families.” Hogan said at the end of the day the family bought the brothers’ dinner to show their appreciation.

“Since many of us were so fortunate throughout the storm, we felt as though we should give back to the community and help those who were less fortunate,” said Russomanno.

Kathy Emery wrote a letter to Ellen DeGeneres explaining her experience with Hurricane Sandy. She received a call back from DeGeneres’s show and will be flown out to California for the taping of the show.

“She sent a picture of the guys to Ellen. She’s going to try to mention them on the show and acknowledge their hard work,” said Hogan.

The brothers’ volunteer work has found its way into the pages of some local newspapers including The Asbury Park Press. Buchalski said, “Monmouth University was sending a press release out to the home towns of the members who participated so they could be proud of the members from their community coming down to help.” According to Buchalski, the members of TKE are planning on organizing restoration efforts for the town of Sea Bright.

“I’m very proud of all my brothers who took the time to help. To see a family loose absolutely everything, helping them was the least we could do to lend a hand in picking themselves back up. It’s a good feeling to know that people will always be there for others, especially in a time of need, and I’m very proud to have the brothers that I do,” said Russomanno.

PHOTO COURTESY of Christa Hogan