When Auburn alumna Lexy Kelley needed support, the Auburn Family stepped up in a life-changing way.
Staying true to her long Auburn lineage, Kelley graduated from Auburn in 2013, just as her grandparents before her. After deciding to transfer from The University of Mississippi for her junior year, Kelley knew Auburn was home.
“I grew up an Auburn fan, and when I got to Auburn for college, I instantly knew this is where I was supposed to be,” she said.
Like her grandparents, Kelley describes her parents as loyal Auburn fans, especially her father, John Oliver. Foregoing college to serve his country, Oliver served in the U.S. Army for 20 years and retired as a major before his passing in 2021.
“I graduated with an accounting degree in 2013, and to this day I think my graduation day was the proudest my dad has ever been of me,” Kelley said.
Coping with the loss of her dad, Kelley found solace in a box of old photos, and one photo in particular from the day she was born. Her mom was holding her as a newborn, and her dad was posing next to them wearing an Auburn baseball cap. Many recognize the hat as having the same style as one famous Auburn football coach Pat Dye wore for many years on the sidelines. Feeling an instant connection to the photo, Kelley took to X (previously Twitter) to call on the Auburn Family.
“Twitter fam — lost my dad in 2021 and recently found this pic of him wearing this hat the day I was born in 1991. I’d absolutely love to have it. If anyone has it lying around or in a box, I’d love to buy it from you. He was my best friend, and I miss him so much. Please share!” her post read.
The post gained traction quickly, receiving more than 100 reposts and 64,000 views. Less than 24 hours later, staff from the popular social media account, AU Family, posted that not only had they located her dad's hat, but they were going to send it to her as a gift. A perfect match to the photo, the hat was even signed on the inside by Dye himself.
“I can’t believe someone would just give me that hat — especially signed by Pat Dye! It’s just an incredible gift,” Kelley said.
In the days following the gesture, Kelley couldn’t help but be grateful to her alma mater and the place that has always meant so much to her family. Returning to the platform where she started this journey, Kelley thanked the Auburn Family.
“This is absolutely unbelievable. This is why they call it the Auburn Family. I just wanted something that my dad had and to feel connected to him again. I’ll forever cherish this. It means more to me than anyone will ever know,” she stated.
Kelley found hope in the kindness of Auburn men and women, and now she has them to thank for a reminder of her dad.
“It goes to show that, even when you lose a member of your family, the Auburn Family is there to fill in.”