On November 18, 1999 at 2:42 a.m. the Bonfire stack collapsed. 12 Aggies passed that night and it is the duty of Aggies everywhere to keep their memory alive in our hearts. We remember them.
Miranda Denise Adams ‘02
Miranda Denise Adams, was a biomedical sciences sophomore from Santa Fe, Texas. Miranda is remembered for her joyous attitude and passion for the Aggie family. She graduated from Santa Fe High School in 1998 with honors, and was the Mosher Bonfire Co-Chair in 1999. It was there, with an infatuation with Bonfire, that Miranda found her niche at Texas A&M. Miranda’s Fish Camp counselor told her family that she listed her priorities as God, family, friends and education at Fish Camp. Shortly after, Miranda’s family found an email she wrote that read, “God’s hand is always there. Once you grasp it, you’ll never want to let it go.” A leader in her dorm, Mosher Hall, she was dubbed the “Queen of Bonfire.” Every year, her family makes a trip to College Station for the anniversary ceremony.
Christopher David Breen ‘96
Christopher David Breen graduated in 1997 with a degree in agriculture development. He was from Austin and grew up with a family of longhorns, never the less, he was a dedicated Aggie.
He was the only former student who died from the collapse of Bonfire. His dedication to his school activities and university are considered to be the reasons he came back two years later to participate in the construction of Bonfire.
Christopher was the senior coordinator for the actual construction process group known as the brown pots, identified by the helmets worn during his senior year, two years before the crash. During his time at A&M, Christopher was a member of the Corps of Cadets and attended St. Mary’s Catholic Church, dedicating himself to his passion for the Catholic faith and to his fellow students in the Corps.
Outside of university, Christopher enjoyed the outdoors, having spent many summers as a canoe guide for the Boy Scouts in Minnesota.
Michael Stephen Ebanks ‘03
Michael Stephen Ebanks will always be remembered for his bravery, kindness and ability to embrace life.
Michael, son of Gerald and Bulinda Ebanks of Carrollton, Texas, was a part of the 1996 EAA Air Academy class in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at the age of 16. As one Air Academy classmate said, “Once you know him, you could never forget him.”
Michael came to Texas A&M to study aerospace engineering and participate in A&M’s traditions, including the Aggie Bonfire. According to one source, he spent his last moments trying to rescue his fellow workers.
Some family members said that “Michael loved the human mind … But he loved the human heart most; goodness knows he made his way into about a jillion of them. And he loved life beyond belief, as well as all that went with it.”
Jeremy Richard Frampton ‘99
“…There is one thing I’ve learned. Sometimes the plainest things mean the most,” Jeremy wrote in a note to his mother.
Jeremy Richard Frampton, a California native, is remembered for his compassionate and thoughtful nature, gentle spirit and willingness to help others — “a phenomenal guy in all facets,” Jeremy’s close friend John Templer, Class of 1999, said.
Jeremy attended Texas A&M to study psychology and spent his time in Company D-1 of the Corps of Cadets. As an upperclassman in the Corps, Jeremy devoted a large amount of his time to coordinating and constructing Bonfire, even when it was not required of him – that was his niche, according to Templer.
“He loved Bonfire like no other and you know any death is an untimely death but you know, if he had to pass on in one shape or form or however, he truly died doing what he loved,” Templer said.
Jamie Lynn Hand ‘03
Jamie Lynn Hand was an environmental design freshman from Henderson, Texas.
As Jamie wrote in her application to be a Fish Camp counselor, the best way to get an idea of who she was is to know what she liked to do — playing softball, putting on plays with her sisters and using her artistic talent to draw, paint and decorate, to name a few. Her writing displays her earnest and joyful energy.
“If you were to ask other people about me I will bet you they would say I’m easy to get along with, fun, and a bit like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde the way I can be quiet and shy at one moment and loud and crazy the next,” Jamie wrote in her application.
She was the second youngest of four sisters, brought closer by their connection to Texas A&M. Jamie took pride in her involvement with the tradition of Bonfire and strongly believed in its ability to bring Aggies together in a single shared purpose and spirit.
Christopher Lee Heard ‘03
Christopher Lee Heard was an engineering freshman from Houston, Texas.
Christopher was a focused and determined young man who had a larger-than-life personality. Throughout high school and his first semester at Texas A&M, he participated in every activity possible from swimming to sharpshooting to being a cadet. Growing up in Texas, Christopher enjoyed singing along with country music and two-stepping.
Christopher had an immense desire to selflessly help others and inspired his peers to trust him and follow his lead. He used his warm personality, keen sense of humor and spirit to make a special place in the hearts of many, including his brothers and parents.
The day before the collapse of the Bonfire, Christopher registered to join the Marines after graduation, which was one of his life-long dreams. Even as the Bonfire began to collapse, Christopher began to warn those below him, concerned about their well-being before his.
Timothy Doran Kerlee, Jr. ‘03
Timothy Doran Kerlee, Jr. was the 12th student to pass away after stack fell. A mechanical engineering sophomore, Timothy was a bright student with a passion for Texas A&M. He was a member of the Corps of Cadets, Squadron 16, a teacher to anyone who needed help and a friend to each person he met.
Timothy left a legacy bigger than himself. He was the youngest student who passed away, but his selfless nature attests to how wise, kind and compassionate he was. Beneath the fallen logs, Timothy lay pinned, but rather than letting rescue workers free him, he used his vantage point to direct first responders to five students he could see, shouting out, “Help my buddies first.” Timothy was taken to the hospital and lived long enough to see his family and friends before he passed away, with a pair of Aggie Boots and a saber by his hospital bed.
Lucas John Kimmel ‘03
Lucas John Kimmel was a biomedical sciences freshman from Corpus Christi and a member of the Corps of Cadets D-2 company.
An ardent follower of the Catholic faith, Lucas is remembered for his devotion to God, family and his positive outlook on life. Throughout his life, he made every second count, never looking back.
Lucas had dreams of traveling and partaking in adventures in every corner of the world, but most of all he enjoyed camping with his family. Lucas always made time to visit his family and spend time with those he loved, including his dog, Maverick. His love for animals grew day by day as he spent time with Maverick, resulting in his decision to enroll in Texas A&M in 1999 to become a veterinarian.
Lucas’ love for adventure and nature sparked his interest in the Bonfire tradition that carried on to the day he became an Aggie.
Bryan Allan McClain ‘02
Bryan Allan McClain is remembered by family and friends as a passionate and loyal friend who lived fearlessly.
Bryan knew there was one school and one school only that he wanted to attend —Texas A&M. Bryan decided he wanted to join the Corps of Cadets after he participated in “Spend a night with the Corps” program during his senior year of high school. He fiercely believed in the idea that the Corps were the “Keepers of The Spirit” and embodied that on a daily basis by how he lived his life.
Bryan was an agriculture freshman from San Antonio, Texas. His neighbors described him as “the kind of kid you’d like your little brother, son or nephew to grow into.”
On Bryan’s portal at Bonfire Memorial, there is an inscription that reads, “It was said by many, that Bryan had put more into his 19 years of life than a person 80 years old.”
Chad Anthony Powell ‘03
Chad Anthony Powell was known for his embodiment of selfless service, intelligence and kindness.
Once, Chad and his father decided to go on a Boy Scout’s trip together. The two had planned to spend time with one another, but Chad quickly volunteered to help younger Scouts during a variety of service projects. Even though he missed out on time with his father, Chad said they took the trip in order to be in service to others.
The computer engineering sophomore from Keller, Texas was not only selfless, but he was extreme bright. At the time of Bonfire Collapse, Chad was considered a sophomore, despite not having completed one full semester. Powell graduated as valedictorian of his graduating class at Keller High School.
He will be remembered as an Aggie who embodied the core values and was enjoyed by all who knew him.
Jerry Don Self ‘01
“If others could only give like he gave, love like he loved, and live like he lived, what a wonderful place this would be.”
Jerry Don Self was an engineering technology junior from Arlington, Texas and a member of Squadron 17 of the Corps of Cadets.
Jerry was a devout Christian who had a love for serving God. He was a camp counselor and loved working with kids, with hopes to become a youth minister.
A football player in high school, Jerry received a scholarship offer to play football for Texas Tech, but turned it down in favor of Aggieland and joining the Corps.
His most notable features were his contagious smile and his caring and selfless heart.
“His loyalty and compassion was obvious through the steadfast friendships he offered to many. He took the initiative to look past people’s faults and see their hearts, and cared for the hearts he saw,” according to his portal at Bonfire Memorial.
Nathan Scott West ‘02
Eagle Scout, Corps of Cadets Company C-2 member, but most importantly, an Aggie. Nathan Scott West was admired and loved by both family and friends who attested to his display of Texas A&M’s core values.
Nathan was a sophomore ocean engineering major from Bellaire, Texas. His family and friends described him as a devoted follower of God who truly knew how to care for others.
Nathan’s Boy Scout Troop, Troop 211, honors his legacy by leaving a seat empty in his honor at the ceremony anytime a member of the Troop rises to Eagle Scout status. Often finding new adventures at Cub Scout campouts, Nathan’s father described him as inquisitive and somehow always finding a way to get lost, but eventually finding a home at A&M.
Nathan impacted those around him and embodied the core values through his faith, service and dedication to others.
Information compiled from the Bonfire Memorial website, MyAggieNation, the Eagle and KBTX. Compiled by Editorial Staff. Photos are file.