Teresa Nesbitt, Arma, joined Alpha Kappa Chapter, Phi Tau Omega sorority, because it sounded like it might be fun and the organization did good things in the community.

Teresa Nesbitt, Arma, joined Alpha Kappa Chapter, Phi Tau Omega sorority, because it sounded like it might be fun and the organization did good things in the community.


That was nearly 30 years ago. Now Nesbitt has just been elected national vice president of the sorority during the national convention, held June 10, 11 and 12 in St. Louis.


And yes, she was right. Being in Alpha Kappa Chapter is fun, as well as rewarding.


Born in Pittsburg and raised in Frontenac, she moved to Franklin after she married her first husband, David Hughes, in 1970.


“I was in Franklin until the tornado came through in 2003, and then I moved to Arma,” Nesbitt said.


She worked at a bank for many years, and for the last 1 1/2 years has been a para at Pittsburg Community Middle school.  Nesbitt joined Alpha Kappa Chapter in 1982.


“I was working with a friend, Dorothy Bertoncino, and she asked if I’d be interested in joining a sorority,” Nesbitt said. “I thought it had something to do with college, and I didn’t go to college, but Dorothy said it was more about helping the community, and that there were monthly meetings and socials. I knew a lot of the ladies she mentioned who were members, so I felt comfortable joining them.”


She said that the organization started on March 8, 1925 when a group of women got together for social, charitable and moral purposes. At that first meeting, the name Phi Tau Omega was chosen, signifying “Pals True Until the End.”


“I like attending our meetings,” Nesbitt said. “All us girls get along fine.”


She held various chapter offices and then decided that she’d like to run for a national office.


“I was national scribe and put out a booklet like a newsletter,” Nesbitt said. “I was also national recording secretary and national corresponding secretary. Last year I ran for national vice president and lost. The girls wanted me to run again, so I did, and this time I won.”


Following the progression of the office, she will be installed as national president next year at the national convention in Tulsa, Okla.


“In 2012 I’ll announce where the 2013 national convention will be held,” Nesbitt said. “Dorothy Bertoncino will be my national convention chairman, and Karen Zerngast will be my national convention treasurer. Probably all the members of Alpha Kappa Chapter will be involve din the 2013 convention in one way or another.”


Other chapter members are Donna Alvested, Ernestine Anselmi, Becky Cobb, Susan Cole, Jeanette Davied, Nancy Dungan, Shelly Gromer, Jo Hermann, Susan Herrell, Margaret Moyer, Joanne Paulie, Steffie Peternell, Carol Puckett, Kathy Puckett, Dianne Reiken, Kathy Shaffer and Susan Robinson.


Alpha Kappa Chapter is very active in the Arma community.


“We help with food baskets at Thanksgiving and Christmas and collect backpacks for the schools,” Nesbitt said. “Once we paid a life insurance premium for a lady in a nursing home.  We help with Project Warmth and Children’s Advocacy.”


The group has also sponsored Christmas parties for the elderly and safe Halloween activities for Arma youngsters.


Alpha Kappa members raise money for their good works through a variety of projects, the most popular being the annual hamburger stand they operate at the Arma City Park during the Arma VJ Homecoming.


“Everybody wants to eat a hamburger during homecoming,” Nesbitt said.


The homecoming draws former Arma residents from around the nation. Nesbitt is fortunate  that her family lives in Arma. Included are son Bryan Hughes, daughter Lisa Bualle, and her two grandchildren, Thomas and Alaina Bualle.


Her first husband, David Hughes, worked in grocery stores in Pittsburg and Arma, and died in 1992. In 2000 she married Jack Nesbitt, who worked at Jim’s Steakhouse in Pittsburg. He died two years ago.


Nesbitt has loving memories of both.


“Both men were very supportive of the sorority,” she said.


They also had something else in common. Both died after battling cancer.


“I don’t hate many things,” Nesbitt said, “but I hate cancer.”


As it has helped others, the sorority comforted her during her bad times.


“Sorority members have always been there for me when I’ve had things in my life,”Nesbitt said. “The sorority has a national philanthropy and I’ve received assistance from it during times of family illness.”