The Martin Surma Story
Alex Zembala April 30, 2014
March 14, 2014 was a day that changed many lives of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi. Martin Surma (a pledge at the time) was critically injured in a freak accident that left him with a fractured skull, massive concussion, bleeding, and swelling of the brain (we want to emphasize that there was absolutely no alcohol involved in this situation). He was air-lifted to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne and taken to the STICU (Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit). This left many of the brothers in a state of shock and worry. Would he survive? Would he ever be the same if he did survive? If he recovers, will his parents still allow him to come back? What would his parents think? Would they blame the fraternity for any reason? So many questions left unanswered.
When I arrived at the hospital that evening I found several brothers in the lobby along with his parents having a very uplifting conversation considering the circumstances. Martin’s family lives 2.5 hours away from Trine U. After speaking with the parents for about 30 minutes or so, the surgeon came out and informed us that they needed to remove a piece of his skull to relieve the pressure being caused by the brain swelling. This surgery was expected to take at least 3 hours. We were informed that the next 48 hours were very critical. The brothers left the hospital that evening with heavy hearts but with a plan to provide as much help and support as possible.
I arrived the next day at the hospital and virtually every single brother was in attendance in the lobby alongside with several administrators from the school. On the table in the lobby the brothers had provided a very large lunch for Martin’s family. I walked in with a sense of pride for my fellow brothers. They weren’t going to let this situation beat them. They were determined to help Martin’s family out in any way they could. We were then informed that Martin was starting to move around and even attempting to grab things out of the nurse’s hands. While we took this as a good sign, we were informed that this was actually a fairly common occurrence with head injury victims. The initial prognosis was that he could be in the hospital for at least 3-4 months even in the best case scenario.
At this point, the brothers started talking about fundraising. The brothers started a charity online. They started a campaign on social media, #StarkeCountyStrong. They ordered wristbands to “sell” for donations, as well as t-shirts to help generate funds. Bound and determined, the brothers banded together to help our extended “family” in need.
Throughout the next several weeks Martin made daily progress. He kept reaching milestones quicker than the doctors had anticipated. His progression went from responding to stimuli, acknowledging commands, talking, and breathing on his own. Every obstacle thrown at him, Martin overcame with a determined tenacity. He was determined, but at the same time, frustrated the poor nurses with his antics. On one occasion, a couple undergrads and I were visiting with him. After we left the room we heard a beeping and one of the nurses ran into the room behind us and yelled, “Martin, sit back down!”
Within a month, Martin was deemed ready for therapy and was moved out of the STICU. Once again, Martin moved quickly through this therapy. When they would ask him to solve simple math problems he would just roll his eyes and complete a calculus problem. (Martin is studying Electrical Engineering) Within a couple weeks Martin was able to go back home. Then on April 23, 2014 Martin showed up at the Old Gal to surprise his brothers. Walking, talking, acting, like nothing happened. The undergrads were overjoyed to see their brother again.
On April 25th of 2014, several student organizations hosted a 5k Color Run with all the proceeds going to the Surma family. There was a presentation before the start of the race in which the brothers presented a check to the Surma family. Martin’s sister, Katie accepted the check for $9,000. This was the money raised not only from the Color Run but also from the website fundraisers.
On May 7th Martin will undergo an MRI to determine whether he can get his skull replaced and thus ending his journey of recovery.
We have been informed by his parents that he will be returning to Trine University. Initially, his parents were going to send him to a local community college when/if he recovered. However, because of the support they received from the undergraduates and alumni, they changed their minds. They decided that he needs to return. So, with any luck he will be back at Trine University in the fall to start off the new school year with his brothers, as an active full member. The accident may have cracked his skull but it couldn’t break his heart and soul.
I was witness to the generosity of the undergrad brothers at this time and I for one am very proud of them. Every day there was someone at the hospital checking on Martin, lending support and keeping his family company. This is a testament to the bond and love that brothers share. We may have our problems at times but we will always be there for each other in times of need.
Alpha Sig for Life!
A Note from the Family:
We truly appreciate the support the Beta Omicron Chapter gave us in our time of need. We can’t thank you enough for all the hard work, prayers, and monetary donations given to our family. We have been truly blessed to have such great people in our lives. We are proud of these young men, as should all of you. Please accept our sincerest thanks.
Chapter Initiates Four New Brothers
Kyle Clark, April 15, 2014
On April 6th, the Beta Omicron Chapter of the Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity initiated four new members for the Spring semester. The four new brothers are Cameron Voss (1178), Martin Surma (1179), Zane Bierman (1180), and Luke Drerup (1181). The pledge process started in early February and lasted until April. Pledging lasted approximately eight weeks.
Cameron Voss (1178) - Cameron is from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is currently a freshman at Trine majoring in Electrical Engineering. Cameron’s big brother at Alpha Sig is Charles Stewart (1169). In Cameron’s free time, he enjoys golf, wakeboarding, and working out.
Martin Surma (1179) - Martin is from North Judson, Indiana. He is currently a freshman at Trine majoring in Electrical Engineering. Martin’s big brother at Alpha Sig is Patrick Schlamb (1166). In Martin’s free time, he enjoys playing pool and working on restoring/maintaining cars.
Zane Bierman (1180) - Zane is from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is currently a freshman at Trine majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Zane’s big brother at Alpha Sig is Kyle Clark (1168). In Zane’s free time, he enjoys baseball, marksmanship, and cars.
Luke Drerup (1181) - Luke is from Kendallville, Indiana. He is currently a freshman at Trine majoring in Design Engineering Technology. Luke’s big brother at Alpha Sig is Nathaniel Scroggins (1171). In Luke’s free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, guns, four wheeling, and playing Xbox.
Pictured from left to right is Zane Bierman, Cameron Voss, Luke Drerup, and Martin Surma
April 15, 2014
It is that time of the year when some must begin that transition from the fun times of an undergraduate to thinking about the next phase of their life. Trine's commencement for graduating seniors is on Saturday, May 3rd at Zollner Atheltic Stadium. This May, the Beta Omicron Chapter has five graduating brothers whom will soon join the alumnus status. Those brothers are J.C. Hemminger (1137), David Curry (1147), Steve Cady (1148), Samuel Montes (1149), and Clayton Whistler (1165).
J.C. Hemminger (1137) – JC is from Graytown, Ohio. He will be receiving a BS degree in Design Engineering Technology. While at Alpha Sig, he held the positions of President, Treasurer, Academic, Manager, Social, Clean-up, Brotherhood, Historian, and Risk Manager. At Trine, JC was a member of the Interfraternal Council. JC has been on an eight month Co-Op with Republic Steel and an eight month Internship with Vestil Manufacturing during his time at Trine. JC’s big brother is Sean Millican (1123) and his little brothers are Jacob Isabell (1146), James Clary (1161), and Chase Budreau (1157). JC is still deciding where he wants to end up. He is currently looking into a potential job in Spartensburg, South Carolina working for BMW.
David Curry (1147) – David is from Kendallville, Indiana. He will be receiving a BSBA in Finance with a minor in Economics. While at Alpha Sig, he held the positions of Vice President, Recruitment, Marshall, Sergeant at Arms, Historian, and Clean-up. David is a member of the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society and has been a Secretary for them. David’s big brother is Lucas Garrow (1139) and his little brother is Cameron Aldrich (1152). David enjoys golfing, boating, or just being outside enjoying the weather. David has interned with Farmers State Bank and with Edward Jones. David wishes to become a financial analyst and work for a bank, investment firm, or large company.
Steve Cady (1148) – Steve is from Huntington, Indiana. He will be receiving a BSBA degree in Marketing. While at Alpha Sig, he held the positions of Secretary, Brotherhood, Pledge Educator, and Philanthropy. Steve’s big brother is Jacob Isabell (1146) and his little brothers are Joshua Easley (1155) and Kyle Zembala (1173). Steve has a girlfriend who is also Alpha Sigs Sweetheart. Her name is Kelsey Bartrom and is a senior at Trine studying Accounting and Finance. In Steve’s free time, he enjoys sports, movies, animals, fishing, outdoor activities, guns, cars, and collecting. Steve wants to live in the Fort Wayne or Indianapolis area working in sales or insurance in the future.
Samuel Montes (1149) - Samuel is from Attica, Indiana. He will be receiving a BS degree in Forensic Science, Chemistry. He minors in Biology and a Pre-Med Professional Tract. While at Alpha Sig, he held the positions of President, Treasurer, Fundraising, Parent Relations, Historian, Risk Management, and IFC Risk Management. While at Trine, Samuel is a member of the Trine Cheerleading Squad, Trine Honor Student Association Alumni Liaison, Trine University Future Forensic Scientists Student Senate Representative, and the American Chemical Society National Member. Samuel’s big brother is Matthew Kulbida (1141) and his little brother is Nicolas
Clayton Whistler (1165) – Clayton is from Rochester, Indiana. He will be receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. While at Alpha Sig, he held the position of Brotherhood. Clayton is a member of the Trine Cheerleading Squad. In Clayton’s free time, he enjoys sports, hunting, fishing, and being outside. Clayton’s big brother is James Clary (1161) and his little brother is Blake Warner (1175).
Update on Martin
April 15, 2014
Martin Surma has made remarkable progress since his car accident in March. Martin was involved in a car accident in which he hit his head in March. He was rushed to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne. He went through surgery to his head to relieve pressure that was building up. After the surgery, Martin started progressing very well.
After some time, Martin began moving around and even wrestling nurses to get out of bed. After a couple of weeks at Parkview, Martin was finally able to get out of bed with some assistance from friends. Martin was then eventually moved to a rehab center closer in Fort Wayne, still at Parkview. There, he was starting to talk and was able to move around quite a bit in bed.
Nathaniel Scroggins (left) and Luke Drerup (right) helping Martin walk
Martin is now moved to a rehab center in Indianapolis. He has made unbelievable progress since the accident.
The Beta Omicron Chapter of the Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity, along with Trine University has had Martins support since his injury. Expenses will be quite heavy for Martins family. If you would like to donate or even simply show your support by commenting, visit the link here (https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/fp64/martin-surma-starke-county-strong-fund?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=wall_post&utm_campaign=dsp_fmh2).