The day the University of Hawaii
visited the Kibbie Dome, a number of students were seen in the tailgate areas sporting black T-shirts with gold lettering proclaiming them members of "Akey's Army." The eye-catching shirts seemed to catch Vandal fans by surprise and people were curious about where they came from…and why.
It turns out the shirts were created by the men of Phi Delta Theta with two goals in mind: To show support for Vandal Football and generate donations for the U of I's "Operation Education," a new program which provides educational opportunities for veterans of the Iraqi war.
Richard (Dick) Reilly, chapter advisor for Phi Delta Theta, said the whole process began during rush week this summer when the Phi Delts invited new Vandal head football coach Robb Akey to deliver a motivational talk to the students going through rush. Akey, who has worked tirelessly since his hiring to increase support for his football program, agreed.
"Coach (Akey) graciously took time out of his busy schedule to visit our house and motivate the kids." Reilly said. "The talk that coach gave inspired not only the young freshmen to excel in school/life but touched a nerve with our members also.
"Our house decided they wanted to be ‘a lighting rod' to get more students involved in supporting the football program, to show their support for coach and create a tool to generate donations for Turtle Derby," Reilly continued. "We decided to introduce the shirts … to ‘get the buzz' going about Akey's Army which it did most effectively…We have received nothing but positive comments from all who saw the shirts, including coach and his family, the team and president and Mrs. White."
Reilly explained the philanthropic goal of the shirts and the PDT spring Turtle Derby. "Our philanthropy for Turtle Derby and for the shirt proceeds is Operation Education which funds educational opportunities for our Iraq veterans at the University of Idaho
," he said. "Our goal is to provide a substantial donation to OE in the spring (which by the way is our 50th Turtle Derby and Phi Delta Theta's 100th anniversary on campus). We hope to have a mammoth turnout/fund raiser for Turtle Derby combining the increased attendance from PDT alumni, parents and the shirt proceeds!"
The shirts are priced at $15 for students and $20 for adults plus shipping charges (if any). The student price includes a $5 donation and the adult price a $10 donation.
"If you have folks who want to order right away and would like to contact me directly they may do so using this email address: email@example.com. All I require to get the order placed is the…name, phone number, size and quantity," Reilly said.