Jessie Hamilton was like a second mother to the boys in the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity at Louisiana State University.

Hamilton started at the frat house in 1982, and the single mother of three had to get up every morning at 4:00 to get to the house in time to make the boys their breakfast.

In between lunch and dinner, she would make grocery store runs, or even drive the boys to doctor appointments, all while providing a listening ear and motherly love and advice.

“I enjoyed doing it. They loved my cooking,” she told the WASHINGTON POST. “I was always there to talk things through with them. They’d come in the kitchen and sit on top of the counter and tell me their problems.”

Hamilton made such a bond with the boys that many of them have kept in contact with her over the years, including alumnus Andrew Fusaiotti.

When the coronavirus pandemic began last year, Fusaiotti reaches to Hamilton to check on her and was shocked to hear the 73 year old was still working—not one, but two jobs—to make ends meet. He discovered that she still had 16 years left on a 30 year mortgage she was trying to pay off—a sum that came to $45,000.

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So Hamilton spent her days between working as a custodian at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, and a cook at a country club.

Fusaiotti wasn’t about to sit back and do nothing to help their dear friend, so he contact the Phi Gamma Delta alumni association and got to work soliciting donations for Hamilton’s mortgage fund.

In the end, the group raised $51,765 and personally surprised Hamilton with the check at a party to celebrate her 74th birthday. Many of the men drove across state lines to attend the celebration, bringing along their families.

“They were my kids. They still are,” Hamilton told the Washington Post. “They used to tell me they loved me, and now, they’ve proved it.”

Hamilton says she can now finally retire since the weight of her unpaid mortgage has been lifted. She is looking forward to enjoying a slower pace of life for the first time ever.

“This has been a blessing to me,” Hamilton told the ADVOCATE. “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.”


This piece originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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