Though he is most famous for his career on the gridiron that earned him membership in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Order of Constantine Sig and Significant Sig Merlin Olsen, UTAH STATE 1962, was just as committed to improving the world around him as he ever was to sacking opposing quarterbacks. On Sept. 15, Sigma Chis can honor his legacy by participating in the fifth-annual Merlin Olsen Day of Service.
After Olsen entered into the Chapter Eternal in 2010, the International Fraternity created the Merlin Olsen Day of Service to honor his philanthropic spirit. On Sept. 15, the Fraternity urges its members to work to better their communities. Your options are limited only by your imagination: In previous years, chapters have cleaned riverbanks, worked at homeless shelters and soup kitchens, donated blood, and helped build homes by partnering with Habitat for Humanity, among other activities.
In 2012, members of the Bradley University chapter helped clean litter along the Peoria (Ill.) River, which Alex Barry, BRADLEY 2014, said helped display the Fraternity’s best qualities.
“We were representing Sigma Chi and showing the community that we want to help out, too,“ he said. “We are always looking for more ways to help.”
When Olsen played as a defensive lineman for the Los Angeles Rams from 1962 to 1976, he and his fellow linemen were known as ‘the Fearsome Foursome,’ but off the field, Olsen dedicated himself to helping organizations like Children’s Miracle Network, now known as Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, by hosting telethons to raise money for the organization. Olsen also made himself known to a wider audience by becoming a television actor, portraying Jonathan Garvey on “Little House on the Prairie” and the title character in “Father Murphy.”
“If there’s one person in the last 25 to 30 years who exemplified service, it’s Merlin,” said 66th Grand Consul Wayne Tucker, BAYLOR 1985, in 2010, shortly after he oversaw the creation of the Day of Service. “Giving back to the community is what Merlin would want us to do.”
Whatever you and your chapter decide to do in observance of the Merlin Olsen Day of Service, remember to talk about it on social media by using the #HonorMerlin hashtag. In addition, email your photos and stories to honormerlin@sigmachi.org. Your submissions could make it into the next issue of The Magazine of Sigma Chi.