On Thursday, March 19,—the Pi Beta Chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania held their annual memorial walk to honor three fraters who lost their lives resulting from a tragic house fire on March 19, 2000.
On March 19, 2000, at 6:05 a.m., a fire broke out at 618 East Fourth Street in the Town of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. The fire occurred during the morning after the fraternity’s Date Party.
Marcus Labuda, Cliff Vail, and Kristoffer Polhemus were the three unfortunate victims who lost their lives during the fire, and are still honored to this day. Every year on March 19, Tau Kappa Epsilon holds a walk to honor the lives of those brothers whom lost their lives, as well as to honor their families. Tau Kappa Epsilon and their sister sorority, Chi Theta Pi, walk from their house on Lightstreet Road to the (old) location of Pi Beta Chapter—618 East Fourth Street—in silence to honor their memory in a celebration of their lives. A candle light vigil is, and will continue to be held throughout the walk.
Four brothers of Tau Kappa Epsilon made speeches during the vigil: Senior—Nick Kuzmiak , Sophomore—Thomas Rafter, Junior—Wesley Rattansingh, and Senior as well as Prytanis (President) of the Fraternity—Corey Sjogren.
“My life experiences as well as my experience here at TKE made me realize that you don’t have to meet someone to know them. You don’t have to know them in order to love them just as you would love you’re own family. I love you, brothers; and I hope you’re looking down at us. I hope you’re proud … RIP Marcus, Kris, & Cliff. Forever in our hearts.” – Corey Sjogren—President of the Pi Beta Chapter within Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity
Brittane Fetterman, Senior Vice President of TKE’s Sister Sorority—Chi Theta Pi—alleged during the vigil, “I think it’s great how they come together still after all these years to remember their brothers who tragically lost their lives. We as a sorority are more than happy to participate and honor the brothers.”
“When I first became a member of TKE Pi Beta, one thing I learned was that this event (The Fire Walk) is one of the main reasons our organization reinforces our three most important principles: Love, Charity, and Esteem. On the anniversary every year, we join in a bonding moment to celebrate the lives of those lost to the fire. We continue to pass down the tradition referred to as “The Fire Walk,” which continues helping to build our Fraternity’s bond of brothers as opposed to most other stereotypical ‘frat boys’.” –Wesley Rattansingh—Hegemon of the 75th Associating Class of Pi Beta
The red carnation is Tau Kappa Epsilon’s flower. The triangle is the symbol of the Fraternity. It appears proudly upon the Fraternity’s badge, upon its Coat-of-Arms, and upon the Fraternity’s flag. Candles are placed inside the upside down triangular formation consisting of three red carnations.
Greek life at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is a strong and growing community. As a member, and president of my own sorority, it’s incredible to see all the support that happens within this community. The Tau Kappa Epsilon Fire Walk has been a tradition for over 14 years, and the brothers who tragically lost their lives that day will never be forgotten.