Troy students raise funds for blind professor who lost home in fire
Published 11:00 pm Thursday, October 6, 2016
Troy professor Joseph “Joey” Arnold got a phone call three weeks ago and was told that his home had burned to the ground.
His insurance is paying for the house, but it won’t cover something very important to Arnold: a device that helps him see.
Arnold is blind in one eye, and the other eye has a visual acuity of 20/800. The device, eSight, improves his acuity to 20/60.
Students at Troy University, led by the Greek community, set up a fundraiser on campus to raise the $15,000 needed to get Arnold a new eSight.
Ben Barnett of Pi Kappa Phi headed up the event and committed to riding a stationary bicycle for 24 hours to bring awareness to the event.
“The eSight really improved his quality of life,” Barnett said. “It allowed him to see his family, Troy baseball games and Cade’s Cove – stuff we take for granted everyday. When his house burned down and he lost everything, he was the rock for his family. I want the Trojan Nation to be that rock for him, and I think we can make that happen.”
The event included the sale of baked goods and food from the grill, raffle tickets and even the chance to pie a member of Pi Kappa Phi in the face.
Arnold said that the event was humbling.
“It’s amazing and humbling,” Arnold said. “Most of these kids don’t know me and never will and some are my students and they still come out and participate. It says a lot about the caliber of people here and the feeling of family that the university tries to promote. [Barnett] mentioned to me about a week ago that this is something he’d like to do, but I didn’t realize it was going to turn into something this big.”
All proceeds from the event will go directly towards purchasing a new eSight for Arnold. Barnett said that Chancellor Jack Hawkins pledged to donate $1,000 if all seven fraternities pledged the same. In addition to the donations that had been collected from raffle tickets, that would put the total funds raised at $9,000.
“If every student gave just $2 we would reach the minimum,” Barnett said. “I want us all to come together as one family and show him love.”
Those who couldn’t make it out to the event but would still like to give to this cause can donate online at www.gofundme.com/CallingAllTrojans.