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Mike and his wife 10 years ago

Mike Reed ’81
I came to Purdue in the fall of 1977 not knowing what to expect, except playing for the Purdue baseball team and going to school. Some brand new friends and I rushed several houses and became Fiji pledge brothers in the Lambda Iota chapter that fall (class of ' 81). One year as a "frog" and one year in the house gave me a ton of memories that will last for as long as my memory serves me.

In the summer after my sophomore year while preparing to go waterskiing one evening at the Huntington reservoir, things went bad. After crossing to the other side with three friends I dove into unknown shallow water and fractured my neck. Face down underwater, I tried to pop out and tell my friends it was shallow. Then, unable to move a muscle, panic hit and I thought I would drown right there. Luckily I felt a hand on my shoulder and was turned over just in time to breathe. I had one friend hold my head still while going back to where the boat was launched. Almost an hour later the EMS arrived, and I was headed back to Ft. Wayne with a life altering injury.

 A spinal cord injury paralyzed all four limbs and I was no longer able to even move a finger or toe. After three surgeries and a year at the Rehab Institution of Chicago, I was able to re-gain enough movement to feed myself, operate an electric wheelchair and even drive my own specially adapted van.

After returning home, I coached a group of 15-16-year-olds and the Mickey Mantle league for two summers. Taking what I learned from Coach Alexander at Purdue, and teaching and practicing with a great group of kids, we won our district and then the Indiana State tournament and finished third in the national semifinals played in Huntington, WV. I also helped Dale McReynolds as an associate scout for the LA Dodgers for about eight years and then helped Coach Alexander as an associate scout for Seattle Mariners until around 2010.

In the early 1990s I returned to college at the regional IPFW campus and through perseverance I finally got my degree. It was more of a pride thing just to say "I did it" more than anything.

I had a house built in the country and was married to my wife, Julie almost 10 years ago. I am the father to six children—at least they were at one time! There is Rachel, Matthew, Joshua, Rebekah, Seth and Luke. Three of them are out of the nest already while two are in college and the youngest with just one more year of high school after this year finishes. Time has flown by quickly for this class of 1981 Purdue Fiji alum.

Even though my time was cut short as a Fiji on campus, I am still in touch with pledge brothers and other brothers from my days down there. One of the most fun times was Purdue football game day, with all of the alumni brothers getting together before the game. Great memories!

Win or lose, you won't find a bigger Boilermaker fan in these parts than me! And I know it's the same for many of my PBs. Football and basketball was a big time attraction in the Fiji house when I was there. The teams were very good in 77-78, 78-79 and I won't forget our win against Magic Johnson and Michigan State on Arnett Hallman's buzzer beater. A bunch of Fijis sat together during the games and that arena was so loud I couldn't hear a word from anyone. Our devastating loss to IU in the NIT finals was polar opposite, quietly crushed.

I just want to say that my time as a Fiji Brother at Purdue gave me some of the best memories of my lifetime. Thanks to all brothers who made my time there the best. And also thanks to fellow Fijis who have always been there for me. It could not have been a greater group of guys to spend my early college years with.

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