Alex Payne: A brother to remember
(Photo: Michael Payne/Facebook)
Elijah Barnes, a brother of the Georgia Alpha Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at UGA, stood in front of nearly 100 people on Saturday, May 22, and referenced the word “family” during a speech.
He said: “Family is everything. It’s all we’ve got. If it wasn’t for you guys (Phi Psi), I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
Elijah teared up when he said the word “family.”
Elijah told a story where he referenced an intimate conversation he had with Alex Payne, another brother of Phi Psi, every Wednesday night during the 2018-19 NBA season at Hedges, a bar in Athens.
The pair of Bulldogs would talk about life, which was something that Alex liked to discuss, especially with a smile on his face.
“Alex (A-Payne) and I had something in common,” Elijah said. “Both of our moms passed away and we bonded on that. Of course, it stung, but Alex shared my same pain. He understood. And, it’s something that we talked about during those nights at Hedges.”
Elijah spoke those words at Alex’s memorial service at 250 Carriage Lane, which is where the fraternity is located, currently.
Easing the pain
Alex loved the front porch of that house.
He was a “connoisseur” of the late nights.
He thrived on the front steps, especially where all the brothers would come in after a late night in downtown Athens.
Alex would always greet every person with kindness.
Or, a quick” “hey, man, how’ve you been?”.
He always knew how to fix someone’s day.
On Saturday, Phi Psi dedicated a plaque in his name on the front porch.
When it was revealed, tears and cheers dropped from the eyes of those that were in attendance.
Michael Payne, Alex’s dad, smiled when it was unveiled.
“…I think he’s smiling down on us and soaking up every moment of this,” Michael said. “This (Phi Psi) place, has a special place in his heart. And, I know he would have wanted this.”
Michael wasn’t the only one to feel that sentiment.
“I miss him,” Austin Melnick said. “For us to be here today, it sucks, well the reason. But, to see so many show up and be here. It’s awesome. Alex always talked ‘brotherhood. And, to be completely honest, this is it. To see this many people together, it’s great.”
Parker Wall, the former president of the chapter, said something similar.
“…This is something that has been delayed a year because of COVID, but I am glad it finally happened,” he said.
Seth Rohring, who was a pledge brother of Alex’s, said the same exact thing.
So did Elijah.
As the memories were being told, the Blue Moon and O-bombs flowed.
‘A different feeling’
“…A lot of alumni, they dwindle out, especially when they get out of college,” Rohring said. “But, hopefully, we can together every year and make his a lasting event.”
“There’s a bunch of people that are here, that all shared different memories, which is something to say about him (Alex),” Barnes said. “He lit up the room, every room. It’s great to have this.”
“I mean, it’s great getting everybody back together,” Mark Coleback said, “We all miss Alex. It’s a different feeling knowing he’s gone, but seeing this today. It’s a reassurance of his memory. It feels like he’s here with us.”
10 other alumni had the same thing to say.
Alex was a brother who cared for others and put them first.
“I just remember when he told me he was joining a fraternity,” Michael Payne said. “…It’s hard for me to come back to Athens, but today made it a little easier…Seeing how much of an impact he made here, for the short amount of time he was here, is incredible. It really is a different feeling…He would really love this because I know for a fact, he’d want this.”
Live ever, die never, Alex. I love and miss you, Lance.