Candlelight vigil illuminates greek unity
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 00:10
Students of Texas A&M Greek life gathered in front of the Zeta house Tuesday night for a solemn candlelight vigil that honored the memory of one of the most influential men in the University’s Greek history.
Leonard Ledet was flying to watch the Aggies play Ole Miss with his brother Gregory and two sons Paul and Mason when their plane crashed after trying to avoid inclement weather.
Leonard was one of the founders of Sigma Chi during a time when the University was not “Greek friendly.” As a transfer student determined to see his brotherhood active on campus, he paved the way for Greek life to flourish into the system as it is today.
“Len is the entire reason we have a Sigma Chi chapter here,” said senior biology major Parker Lachosky. “He came with the intent of starting Sigma Chi here, and he wasn’t going to be denied.”
In response to the loss, the men of Sigma Chi and the Interfraternity Council organized the memorial, which began with a “maroon out” in memory of the Ledet’s lost and the ones that remain in grieving.
Not only did Greek students lose a legend, but they watched their sister lose a father. Leonard’s daughter, Alyson Ledet, junior biomedical sciences major, is a member of the Texas A&M chapter Zeta Tau Alpha.
“It’s brought us nothing but unity, and our strength is kind of coming from Alyson right now. She’s so strong,” said senior civil engineering major and Zeta Tau Alpha president Sarah Caruth.
Alyson was at home Tuesday with her mother Debra and sister Lauren, but the candlelight vigil still served the purpose of providing support.
Caruth read a message from Alyson regarding the support, saying that it is the most love she has ever felt.
The turnout for the night event was massive. The keynote speaker was Leonard’s pledge brother Lee Beauchamp, Class of 1975. Beauchamp spoke to the crowd on the character of Leonard and his impact on Texas A&M.
“It’s a tragic event for everybody. Tonight’s a good example that it has a far reaching side effect, but also there’s a great sense of the Greek community to rally around this and support each other,” Beauchamp said.
Leonard’s legacy will live on through the tradition of Sigma Chi and his daughter Alyson, who will continue his work impacting lives through dentistry.
“Alyson’s smile is a visible symbol of her dreams to follow in her best friend, her daddy’s footsteps to reach all ends of the earth through the healing work of dentistry,” Caruth said.
The support for the Ledet family will also continue. There have been efforts around the state to provide the Ledets with prayers and gifts, and there is expected to be a donation fund set up on their behalf.
As those impacted begin to heal from the loss, comfort can be taken in the respect and honor that was shown for Leonard and his family.
“At Sigma Chi we have a saying to provide strong arms and tonight’s event shows that we’re all here to provide strong arms for each other,” Beauchamp said.