Eta Xi Chapter Honors POW and MIA Soldiers

Empty chair memorial placed in Austin Peay football stadium after fundraising effort

Following a two-year fundraising effort, members of the Fraternity’s Eta Xi chapter at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, joined university officials in dedicating a POW-MIA memorial chair during a military appreciation game at the school’s Fortera Stadium on Nov. 17.

Former Consul Brenden Smith, AUSTIN PEAY 2018, was inspired to coordinate the drive after viewing a similar seat within a venue at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, host of the prior three Balfour Leadership Training Workshops, as they were formally known. 

“I want to give thanks to the men and women who didn’t get to come home [from military service,” Smith says. “They’re a part of something we can’t forget. You may not be in the military, but the families that make sacrifices have influenced your lives.”

More than 70 Gold Star families were in attendance during the gridiron bout between Austin Peay and Murray State University on Nov. 17. The memorial seat was unveiled between the first and second quarters of the game.

Austin Peay undergraduate and alumni Sigs raised more than $1,400 for the chair and plaque that will be permanently displayed within the stadium for all future events.

The plaque, titled “In Remembrance of the Brave,” reads:

“Since WWII, more than 83,000 military service members have not returned home from their tour overseas. These men and women have given the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the continuation of the ideals this country holds dear.

“This seat is given to those service members that have not returned to the loving arms of their fellow Americans. Let us never forget the men and women who sit in the empty seat next to us.”