Alums from LSU fraternity house pay off longtime cook’s mortgage

BATON ROUGE, La. — She made their meals at an LSU fraternity Three decades later, a group of alumni cooked up a heartwarming plan to pay her back.

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About a dozen members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity surprised Jessie Hamilton on her 74th birthday on Saturday, handing her some gifts -- including a check to pay off her mortgage, The Advocate of Baton Rouge reported.

Andrew Fusaiotti, who attended LSU from 1987 to 1989, coordinated an effort that raised $51,765 for Hamilton, the newspaper reported. That included $45,000 to pay her mortgage, $6,675 for her personal account and the balance for commemorative T-shirts proclaiming “Jessie Hamilton Day.” Ninety brothers contributed to the fund, each donating between $600 and $1,000, The Advocate reported.

“That shows how they all felt about her,” Fusaiotti told the newspaper. “Jessie is one of these people that shows up to work and always has a smile on her face, eager to please and never complains.”

Hamilton worked for 14 years as a cook for the “Fijis” before taking her current job in custodial services at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport.

In a Fiji-style game of “Let’s Make a Deal,” the brothers on Saturday presented Hamilton with prizes from behind three “doors,” opened by her children.

That included the T-shirts and the two checks. Hamilton said she will be able to retire, and as soon as it is safe for her to travel, she will take a vacation in Hawaii, The Advocate reported.

“She is the type of person that inspires me, people that don’t have a lot, but give a lot,” Fusaiotti told the newspaper. “She’s the most giving person you’ve ever met.”

“This has been a blessing to me,” Hamilton said after her party. “I have been worrying about how I was going to pay my house off. I am grateful for what God has done and has led them to do for me.”