So often we do not make discoveries or connections until it is too late. We do not realize the value of a friend until they have moved away, we do not appreciate our child until they have left for college or we do not know the value of one’s life until it has passed.
Why is it that we wait to make these connections? Why is our hindsight is so crystal clear and our day-to-day vision so clouded? This story is perhaps no different, however, the beauty of it lies in the ability to take that clear vision and create something that matters.
This month thousands of college freshman have left home and many are beginning the process of Rush as they look to make new homes away from home in sororities and fraternities across the country.That is exactly what Gordie Baily did in September 2004, as an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Gordie, a fun-loving freshman who had been the Co-captain of his varsity high school football team, a drama star, a guitar player and a walk on at Boulder’s lacrosse team was adored by all. He pledged Chi Psi and on the evening of September 16th, Gordie and twenty-six other pledge brothers dressed in coats and ties for “bid night”, were taken blindfolded to the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest where they were “encouraged” to drink four “handles” of whiskey and six (1.5 liter) bottles of wine.
They were told, “no one is leaving here until these are gone.” When the group returned to the Fraternity house, Gordie was visibly intoxicated and did not drink anymore. He was placed on a couch to “sleep it off” at approximately 11pm. His brothers proceeded to write on his body in another fraternity ritual. Gordie was left to “sleep it off” for 10 hours before he was found dead the next morning, face down on the floor. No one had called for help, he was 18 years old.
The nonprofit Gordie Foundation was founded in Dallas in 2004 by Gordie’s parents as a dedication to his memory. The foundation creates and distributes educational programs and materials to reduce hazardous drinking and hazing and promote peer intervention among young adults. Their mission is committed to ensuring that Gordie’s story continues to impact students by challenging attitudes about the true risks of hazing and alcohol use and works to promote healthy campus environments in which hazing and alcohol poisoning do not occur.
In just six years, the Gordie Foundation made an impact on hundreds of thousands of students across the country through its programs and educational efforts.
Why is it that we wait to make these connections? Why is our hindsight is so crystal clear and our day-to-day vision so clouded? Why is it that we do not know the value of one’s life until it has passed?
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