Dedication to fathers raised without a father

Casey Thomas | 6/16/2013, 8:07 p.m.
I’m not a writer, I just have something to say. This Sunday, we celebrate and recognize the sacrifice it takes ...
Casey Thomas

After our freshman year, we decided to become roommates at College Inn. We hung out after class, ate lunch in the dorm, and played basketball in the PEB (Physical Education Building). That is when I learned that Lewis was a great basketball player. Every day at 4 p.m., Lewis disappeared, but I didn’t know where to. One day I went with him to the gym, and I found out how good he really was. Even though he was barely six feet, he could jump out of the gym, and he had a shot to go with it. Many people even today say that Lewis looks like Ray Allen, the all-time three point shooting leader with the Miami Heat. Lewis had a game to match. Of course I was not as good of a player as him, but I could hold my own.

We also found out we had something else in common. We both were interested in joining the same fraternity. Since we were roommates, we went to the interest meeting together. We became line brothers and we both crossed the burning sands of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity together. Lewis was the only person on our line to maintain a 3.5 GPA while going through this process. He went on to graduate, and started a job with Hormel in Marketing and Sales the Monday after he graduated from college. He moved to Minnesota for training and lived in Pennsylvania for a while. He moved back to the Dallas area where he worked for Pro-Line until it was sold. Lewis now lives in Frisco and has a wife and family of his own, has become successful in marketing and sales, and is a living example of what being a father can be to his oldest son, Khalil, who is now 14 years old. Hard to believe it! Proud of you, Lewis.

The next man that I want to highlight is Michael Cooper. Cooper grew up in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas. Raised by a single mother, he graduated from Skyline High School, where he was the editor of the yearbook his senior year. That is when and where I met him. As early as high school, Cooper and I both shared a common interest in our fraternity. We joined up with a group of guys who all wanted to become members of Kappa Alpha Psi, and we all became friends.

During our senior year in high school, we talked about where we wanted to go to college. Cooper had decided that he would attend Louisiana Tech University, in Ruston, La. Something about how good the Kappas there were with canes. They also had a reputation for offering a quality education. Cooper and two of our other friends from high school, Orlanda Powell and Branden Wells, also went to Louisiana Tech. Cooper was the first of our crew to become a Kappa and we realized that the bond of the fraternity was much stronger than we realized.

He never distanced himself from us, but we knew when it was time to hang with the Kappas, we had to let him do his thing. The year after Cooper joined, I became a Kappa and so did Wells. Powell would join the fraternity the next year and all three of them would soon join me at the University of North Texas. Cooper and I went on to become college roommates, and after I graduated we stayed in touch.

While we were in college, Cooper talked about hosting parties for Black college students and young professionals. While I thought it was a great idea, I never thought he would actually act on it. After starting a career in sales shortly after graduating, he decided to act on his dream. Cooper, along with several of our frat brothers, went on to start Platinum Entertainment, a business for social entertainment for those who wanted to get and have some fun on the weekends with a group of their peers. It became hugely successful and is still popular to this day.

I wanted to take a moment to highlight these men, along with so many other fathers who never had a father themselves. Keep up the good work and enjoy your day.

Happy Father’s Day!