How I give: Chris Burk ’00
BY TODD JONES
The Las Vegas alumni club president is leading the charge in outreach to help the Vegas community.
An energy source exists in the Nevada desert apart from the neon lights of casinos. The vibe stems from the Ohio State Alumni Club of Las Vegas, powered in part by the radiant personality of the chapter’s president, Chris Burk ’00.
“I’ve always been fairly Type A, a go-getter,” says Burk, a lawyer who grew up in Beavercreek, Ohio, and moved to Vegas in 2004.
Burk’s leadership steered the club through a somber mission in October, when 58 people were killed in Las Vegas in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
“Chris really rallied the troops,” says club member Kim Wheeler Makita ’98, a physician’s assistant who treated some of the 500-plus people injured when a gunman opened fire at a concert.
Burk was behind a flurry of emails and social media requests that began the morning after the shooting and led to the alumni chapter’s donation of food and water to the Ronald McDonald House of Greater Las Vegas. Club members followed up by raising nearly $4,000 for the victims’ fund through a GoFundMe drive and football ticket raffle.
Burk also organized a competition to replenish local blood banks through a blood battle pitting Buckeyes against Michigan State alumni on the day their teams met at Ohio Stadium in November.
“This isn’t a fad,” says Vegas club member Ryan Lower ’04. “We’ve been trying to make a commitment to make things better and help out the community.”
Burk, who is married with two sons, credits his chapter’s board members for responding a couple years ago when The Ohio State University Alumni Association urged the club to become more active in community outreach.
Members say their Vegas chapter has been rejuvenated under Burk’s stewardship. They’ve fed the homeless and raised money for the Nevada Paralyzed Veterans of America. In December, they packed 146 lunches at the Ronald McDonald House for children at two local hospitals.
“We are an extension of Ohio State, and we take that very seriously,” Burk says. “We want to be nothing but honorable and carry ourselves with high integrity and character. We know that Ohio State expects that of us.”
SOURCE: OHIO STATE MAGAZINE, SPRING 2018