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Friends and Family Remember Adam Oakes

Family posed
Adam Oakes (back left) poses for a picture with his family. (Photo courtesy of the Oakes family)

It’s been a month since the death of Adam Oakes. The VCU freshman died after an alleged hazing incident at an event hosted by the university’s Delta Chi fraternity.

VPM reporter Alan Rodriguez Espinoza had the chance to speak with Adam’s friends and family about how they will remember him.

ALAN: Can I have you both give me your first and last name?

ERIC: Eric Oakes

COURTNEY: And I'm Courtney White. I'm Adam’s cousin. This is Adam’s dad. The type of kid that Adam was, he always put family first. He put his love for everyone else above the love for himself.

ERIC: He just wanted to do the things that all his other friends were able to do, and when somebody called him and said, ‘I'll pick you up. We'll go to the gym. We'll go play basketball.’ I mean, it meant the world to him.

MAX: I'm Max Turner. I grew up playing sports with Adam. We first started playing sports together during baseball, and that's when I first became his friend. He would always send in an article and spark a debate, and he would always be at the forefront of those debates. It's been hard trying to acclimate to life without him.

BEN: I'm Ben Davis. I met Adam in middle school. We always played sports together. He just, he knew so much about every single sport. It was hard to debate him and he was just a lot of fun to talk to you. Every day. Every single day we would talk about sports. Every single day.

ERIC: The biggest one that comes to mind was Romo or Troy Aikman. Who's a Hall of Famer? Who deserves the Hall of Fame? I'm like, ‘Troy Aikman. Easy,’ you know? But he would throw all the stats at me: ‘He's got more yards. He's got more touchdowns…’ I was like, ‘Rings. Rings, baby. That's what matters.’

COURTNEY: Every fall, we did a family fantasy football, and every time, we would compete for the best quarterback, like who would get the best quarterback, and every year, everybody was just trying to get a better team than Adam did. That was just the team to beat every single year. That's something that I remember always, just bickering about doing fantasy football and who's going to have the better team. It's gonna be hard this year to not have that.

ERIC: He was so happy. He had a lot to live for, and he had a lot to experience, and it was taken short. His life was cut so short. It's not fair. It's just senseless.

COURTNEY: He just won't get those opportunities, you know? He won't get the same opportunities as his friends. He won't get the same opportunities as those Delta Chi boys.

ERIC: For me, losing my only child, my son, I mean, it's going to be a daily struggle. Just the last month has been crushing. To sit there and not have him at arm's length, it's just... It's terrible.

COURTNEY: Ultimately, he's my drive right now to keep making these changes and to make sure that President Rao and Delta Chi VCU know that Adam Oakes’ family is here for the long haul, and we're here to make the changes. We're not going to let it go until we see action.

MAX: He was so happy and just such a great guy. Adam just loved everyone. Adam treated everyone the same. We just need to treat people with more care, and that's how I'm gonna live like Adam.

ALAN: VCU suspended its Delta Chi chapter in the days following Adam’s death, which is still under investigation. The university also recently hired a consulting firm to conduct an independent review of Greek Life on campus.

For VPM News, I’m Alan Rodriguez Espinoza.