Faith, Family and Fraternity

Serving Others Is A Part Of Living Life To The Fullest For Brother Mike Callais

by Jeff Jowdy
University of Georgia, ‘83
Foundation Chairman

Brother Callais alongside his mother, Gloria (left) and wife, Blanche (right).

Service to others is a part of living life to the fullest, says 2018 Man of Achievement Mike Callais (Louisiana State University, ‘84).

“Service is important for anyone – and that goes along with faith. It helps you to know that there’s something more that you can work for,” Mike believes. “Cajuns like to live life to the fullest. That’s one part of just having a happy life.”

A 1984 graduate of Louisiana State University, Brother Callais embodies the term “servant leader” and our fraternity’s motto, “Give, Expecting Nothing Thereof.” Today, the seasoned business leader is chairman of Abdon Callais Offshore, as well as a board member at Community Bancorp. His diverse leadership experience includes influential roles in the real estate, automobile, solid waste and cable industries.

Mike’s late father, Harold, was a faith-filled man who helped lay the foundation for his son’s approach to life.

“He firmly believed in controlling the things you can control and not worrying about the things you can’t,” Mike says.

“He did teach me the importance of sharing our blessings, our time, talent and treasure with others,” he adds. “It’s not for us and not from us – those blessings come from God and we’ve got to return them to God.”

Mike shared that his father’s final words were profound: “God is good!”

His mother, Gloria, instilled faith into her children early on.

“My dad couldn’t go because of his work obligations, so she was the one who brought my brothers and me to church every Sunday,” Mike says. “She was the first one to teach us the importance of a spiritual life. She taught us that God is with you always.”

Mike is a board member of Phi Kappa Theta Foundation. He and his wife, Blanche, have been instrumental in the Foundation’s support, enabling the Fraternity to develop programs that provide a spiritual pillar for collegiate brothers. Mike is actively engaged at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church in Golden Meadow, LA.

Also involved in many nonprofit organizations ranging from Leadership Lafourche to Nicholls State University, Mike was the recipient of the Diocesan Service Award presented by the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux as well as the Outstanding Rotarian Award from the Rotary Club of Golden Meadow. He is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and has been recognized several times as Knight of the Year.

He is also instrumental in conversations on re-chartering the Phi Kappa Theta chapter at LSU.

2018 Man of Achievement, Brother Mike Callais (Louisiana State University, ‘84) (left), alongside 2018 John F. Kennedy Award recipient, Ali Soufan (Mansfield University, ‘94). Both pictured at IMPACT18 in Orlando, FL this past August.

Like the servant leader he is, Mike accepted the 2018 Man of Achievement award with great reluctance and great humility. We even had to enlist Blanche – our “secret weapon” – to encourage him to accept!

Mike credits his success to those who have guided him throughout his life.

“This organization has helped in the formation of many successful leaders of government and industry over the years,” Mike shared in his acceptance remarks, “so being chosen for this recognition is such an incredible honor for me. I accept it on behalf of my family and friends who over the years have inspired and guided me.”

He also encouraged his fellow brothers to invest in developing servant leaders.

“I urge you all to make a contribution – some contribution – to our Foundation,” Mike said, adding that we are each called to lift up others wherever we can.

We don’t know why we were put into this situation, but other people are put into other, different situations,” Mike explained, “so, we need to try to remember them and help them reach their full potential as well.”

Watch Brother Callais’s speech from IMPACT18 in Orlando, FL:

Veterans Day Observance 2018

by Michael Van Poots
RPI, ‘95

 Brother Van Poots on the flying bridge of the Fast Attack Nuclear Submarine USS Montpelier SSN-765

Brother Van Poots on the flying bridge of the Fast Attack Nuclear Submarine USS Montpelier SSN-765

Folks—a moment of your time to reflect upon the upcoming Veterans day observance.

First a bit of history, World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.

Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Arlington Cemetery, (Fort Myer, VA) Washington D.C..

It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans.

Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date. Tomb of the Unknowns—Official, national ceremonies for Veterans Day center around the Tomb of the Unknowns.

To honor these unknown Veterans, symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars, an Army honor guard, the 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard), keeps day and night vigil.

At 11 a.m. on November 11, a combined color guard representing all military services executes "Present Arms" at the tomb. The nation's tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath and the playing of "Taps."

There are approximately 18.8 million military veterans living in the United States. Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

4 Million served in peacetime.

Wartime:

  • The American Revolution

  • War of 1812

  • Mexican War

  • Civil War

  • Spanish American War

  • World War I

  • World War II – 930,000 military veterans living

  • Korean War – 1.8 Million military veterans living

  • Vietnam War – 6.8 Million military veterans living

  • The Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq – 5.6 Million military veterans living.

Please take a moment to reflect upon all Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and others whose service ensured our Nation's safety.

Brother Van Poots and his wife, Holly, at the Navy Ball.

Thanks for taking a few moments out of your day to reflect upon those who are serving or have served in defense of our country.

My service as a veteran in the US Navy and my membership in Phi Kappa Theta started in college 27 years ago & continues to this day. Phi Kappa Theta fosters human development through community service and social interaction.

We are socially engaged, recognizing our responsibility to affect positive change in ourselves and others.

Phi Kappa Theta’s values are demonstrated through the actions of our members, who better their communities as citizens in a global society.

Main image: Reed & Ryan Van Poots, sons of Brother Van Poots, saying goodby to him next to his sea bag on Mobilization day.

Dealing With "Post Charter Syndrome"

by Nicholas Reid
University of Iowa, ‘21

 Brother Nicholas Reid (University of Iowa, ‘21) speaking at the Chapters re-chartering on September 28th.

Brother Nicholas Reid (University of Iowa, ‘21) speaking at the Chapters re-chartering on September 28th.

Initiation.

It is the time that every fraternity brother will remember for the rest of their life.

Eighteen of our Iowa Delta brothers were available to experience it for the first time at the Iowa Delta Chartering this past September.

Members were excited, nervous, anxious and overall cold. It was a cold day.

The initiation was an incredible experience, followed by a resound “PHI” Phi Kappa Theta chant.

After the weekend, the greatest question from brothers was, “Where do we go next?”.

Usually, this can cause an infamous “Post Charter Syndrome” where members become relaxed and aren’t as motivated as they used to be. Thankfully, that is not the problem for Iowa Delta. Brothers immediately after the ceremony were asking what they could do to work harder and help better the fraternity.

One of our brothers, Sam Sharp (University of Iowa, ’21), came up to me directly and said, “I want to be more involved and help this Fraternity in any way I can.”

Nicholas Reid (center) with members of the Iowa Delta Chapter, picking up trash in support of CMN.

Members like that, that will do anything for their brothers, are the reason fraternities will never die away. No other organization is able to create a closeness that arises because of Greek life.

As Iowa Delta advances, we hope to not only advance the Fraternity but the University of Iowa. By becoming the ideal gentlemen we are meant to be, we can create a lasting impact on the people around us, hopefully changing their lives for the better.

We are excited to continue this journey, and we hope that all of you continue to keep updated with us on this blog.

As always, PROUD TO BE A PHI KAP!


About Nicholas:

nreid18B.jpg

Brother Reid is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering with a focus in Business Management. He is the current Vice President of Fraternal, Recharter Head and Social Media Chair for Phi Kappa Theta Iowa Delta. Nicholas grew up in Peoria, Illinois, attending St. Vincent de Paul grade school and Peoria Notre Dame High School. He was involved and active in many things, including scholastic bowl, numerous sports with his primary being soccer, key club and French Club. Nic also received the Presidental Award, National Honors Society, Old Gold Scholarship and an Illinois State Scholar. He is the first person of his family to move out for college, attend a big 10 school and join Greek life. Knowing nothing of what Greek life is about graduating, Nic has since taken a strong passion towards Phi Kappa Theta and bettering himself, along with his brothers. Nic is also involved in Dance Marathon and Intramural Sports, along with numerous service projects through the Fraternity. In his freetime, he loves to workout, play sports, hunt, fish, play video games and hang out with friends.

Phi Kappa Theta Celebrates #GivingTuesday

INDIANAPOLIS, IN | Wednesday, November 7th, 2017 – This #GivingTuesday, Phi Kappa Theta will celebrate giving by asking our members to donate to the Phi Kappa Theta Foundation directly, or using smile.amazon.com to contribute a portion of their holiday purchases to the Foundation.

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.

Following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this year’s #GivingTuesday will take place on November 27th and will kick off the giving season by inspiring people to collaborate and give back.

Phi Kappa Theta has been partnerning with #GivingTuesday for several years now, and each year we are encouraged with the generosity of our members in giving back to their Fraternity.

Founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y – a community and cultural center in New York City − #GivingTuesday inspired millions of people to give back and support the causes they believe in.

Over $300 million was raised online to benefit a tremendously broad range of organizations, and much more was given in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness.

“We are incredibly inspired by the way the #GivingTuesday community has embraced this concept for a worldwide movement,” said Henry Timms, founder of #GivingTuesday and Executive Director of 92Y. “As we prepare for November 27, we’re energized and encouraged by the community’s generosity. The levels of creativity, effort and the quality of the new ideas people have contributed and shared are phenomenal.”

Those who are interested in joining Phi Kappa Theta’s #GivingTuesday initiative can visit the #GivingTuesday website, Facebook page or follow @GivingTues and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on Twitter.

About Phi Kappa Theta:

Founded in 1889, Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity currently has 40 collegiate chapters across the United States. Phi Kappa Theta actively develops men to be effective leaders who passionately serve society, Fraternity and God.

About #GivingTuesday:

Founded by the team in the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at 92nd Street Y, #GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in all 50 states and in countries around the world. This year, #GivingTuesday falls on November 27. #GivingTuesday harnesses the collective power of a unique blend of partners
 to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season. It inspires people to take collective action to improve their communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they believe in, and help create a better world. #GivingTuesday demonstrates how every act of generosity counts, and that they mean even more when we give together.

To learn more about #GivingTuesday participants and activities or to join the celebration of giving, please visit: