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Campus rallies to help family of late residential coordinator

Fundraising events held to cover burial costs
Mar 22, 2010
By George Mauzy

When West Green Residential Coordinator Collins Annin died on Feb. 22 due to complications from sickle cell disease, no one anticipated the scope of the outpouring of community support for his family.

At the time of his death, Annin, who graduated from Ohio University in June with a doctoral degree in cultural studies in education, was in the process of securing a teaching position at the University of Ghana. His wife, Phyllis Dako-Gyeke, also an OHIO graduate, lives in Ghana and teaches in the School of Public Health at the same university. 

The couple's 5-year-old daughter, Ayeyi, lived with Annin in James Hall at the time of his death, while infant son, Nkunim, was living with his mother in Ghana.

When word went out that Dako-Gyeke was facing some financial challenges to give Annin a proper burial, the OHIO community began its fundraising efforts. Residential Housing immediately established the Collins Fund to help the family with its expenses and has already raised more than $9,000.

Since returning to the United States on March 10, Dako-Gyeke has been extremely busy making plans to return her husband's body to Ghana for a final funeral service in his hometown of Kumasi, in the Ashante region. She also has participated in two funeral services for Annin, one in Athens and one in Columbus.

"Since Collins was planning to return to Ghana when he died, I think it is respectful and befitting for him to be buried there," Dako-Gyeke said. "I express my gratitude, appreciation and thanks to everyone for their contributions and condolences to the family."

Judy Piercy, associate director of residential housing, said contributions have come from both people who did and didn't know Annin. She added that some of the contributions have even come from people outside of the state. She gave special praise to the residence hall students who have worked tirelessly to raise funds for the family.

"The students held a benefit luncheon, sold "Remembering Collins" wristbands, held penny wars in the residence halls and recently raised more than $500 by allowing people to smash a pie in the face of the residence assistants," Piercy said. "It just shows how people can be creative and also how much Collins was loved, admired and appreciated."

Although the amount of money raised is significant, Piercy said it still isn't enough to cover the family's projected expenses.

"Residential Housing will continue to accept monetary donations to the Collins Fund at 060 Chubb Hall through the end of spring quarter," Piercy said. "It is heartwarming to see the generosity of the people who were touched by this situation."


Published: Mar 22, 2010 8:00 AM


Annin family (L-R): Phyllis, Nkunim, Collins, Ayeyi

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