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Shooting Victim’s Fraternity Helps Grieving Family, Creates New Scholarship

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Family and friends are planning to say goodbye to Alonzo McGhee Saturday in Georgia.  Meanwhile, soldiers from Redstone Arsenal will celebrate the Lieutenant Colonel's life Thursday.

Huntsville Police found McGhee dead last Friday.  He had been shot multiple times outside his home on Pale Dawn Place.  Police have not arrested anyone.

Investigators are keeping tight-lipped on what they have learned so far.

Meanwhile, WHNT News 19 is learning more about the father of three from friends.

McGhee, 44, was a longtime soldier.  He was also a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

Army Strong. Those words define the U.S. Army. Friendship exemplifies the Omega Psi Phi, the brotherhood that lost McGhee.

"He was passionate. He loved football because he was on two national championship teams at Georgia Southern University," said Fraternity Brother Charlie Horton.

Horton knew McGhee from the fraternity and Army. McGhee was a LTC. He says McGhee was passionate about sports and his children. The fraternity's motto is "friendship is essential to the soul."  He says McGhee knew it.

"That's how he lived his life. It didn't matter if you were frat. It didn't matter if you were a stranger. When you left him, you knew there was something special about him and you could call him a friend," said Fraternity Brother Willie Collins.

Collins' friendship with McGhee began when they played football together at Georgia Southern. Collins learned about his friend's murder while on the computer the next morning.

"It was difficult to even make phone calls because my thumbs weren't working because I could not believe what I was seeing," added Collins.

Collins then heard about it from friends.

"It's a nightmare because it was senseless. You know, I mean, it's been very difficult," added Collins.

The brothers are spending the next few days signing a board for McGhee's family.  More than 200 Omega Psi Phi brothers are planning to attend McGhee's funeral services in Georgia.

McGhee also made an impact in the community. He had friends on and off Redstone Arsenal, many of them in the fraternity.

"We were friends. We both played football at Georgia Southern University. There was always a tight connection. It just grew out of that," added Collins.

McGhee's friendships often grew into partnerships. Tony Hodge met McGhee in 2005. The two launched the Youth Friendship Foundation that year. The foundation provides scholarships to underprivileged kids in Limestone and Madison counties.

"He wanted to make sure everybody went to school and looked forward to coaching his kids' teams," added Horton.

McGhee worked with his fraternity brothers for 10 years and raised more than $200,000 in educational scholarships.

"A large part of that was due to the efforts of McGhee," added Hodge.

Hodge, also a retired Army officer, believes a lot of soldiers could do what McGhee did. But, he thinks there was something special about his friend.

"He had a vision. He shared it with us. He was the driving force behind us realizing that vision," added Hodge.

Hodge learned through a text message that someone had murdered his friend.

"For me, it was like a nightmare. I thought maybe I will wake up. I thought I was read the text wrong," added Hodge.

The foundation McGhee started also sent kids to Sci-Quest, Space Camp and adopted schools in Huntsville. Foundation leaders plans to name a scholarship after McGhee.