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GANNON BUTLER #518, Gamma theta

Gannon sitting in a Humvee waiting for the Commander to finish with meetings

Frater Gannon "Wookie" Butler was initiated in Fall 2007 with the Gamma Theta pledge class. He served as the chapter's Hypophetes and Histor, along with a plethora of chair and committee positions. He started college at UWP in fall 2007 and graduated from Platteville in 2012. Gannon enlisted in the United States Army and became a veteran in June 2017.

What one thing ran through your head when you first came to the TKE house?

What did I just get myself into? I first showed up during the last night of rushing so in under 24 hours, I went from not knowing anyone or anything about Greek life to pledging TKE. But Brock, Stylez and Splinter all talked to me that first night. It was a very quick and easy decision to make to try and join.

What made you decide on college at UW-Platteville?

During high school, I wasn't really thinking much about college. My parents insisted on it though and my mom was researching a lot of different colleges. Mainly because she knew I probably would have put it off if left up to me. She found UWP and liked the small class sizes and choices for a major. She told me about it and I kinda just agreed. So I actually didn't choose UWP over any other school for any particular reason other than I just didn't want to do my own research into other colleges.

Since you joined in 2007, you have been through many big life events. What has been your biggest challenge since graduation?

Probably trying to settle into a career. Criminal justice didn't work out like I had planned so my degree hasn't done much for me since I graduated. I've had to build up and market other skills in order to get a job that would allow me to support myself. Even now it's a work in progress considering my military job of explosives and demolitions doesn't translate well to the civilian side.

Frater Gannon with Sgt Potenzone, one of his better friends in the Army, before he transferred to Hawaii
What led to your decision to join the United States Army?

Criminal justice wasn't working out for me. Joining the military was something I had kinda thought about during high school but never acted on. So when I couldn't find a good job after college, I decided to go for it and enlist.

You mentioned that your position in the military doesn't translate well to the civilian world with job opportunities. But what are the benefits in your mind?

The benefits of my actual job were just that I got to do some cool stuff. Shoot big weapons, blow up C4, ride around in armored personnel carriers, etc. But the benefits of the military as a whole are tremendous. I got mechanical experience working with our vehicles, leadership experience, discipline, and probably one of the more important aspects was a solid work ethic. Many people that knew me in college remember me being kinda lazy. That's not an option in the military. Gaining a solid work ethic has greatly benefited me post army in all my jobs since.

Is there good support with job placement for military service men and women?

Oh yeah. I've gone to a couple job fairs already just for veterans. The biggest problem is a lot of the jobs there require much more experience in the trade fields than I have. The jobs I have qualified for have been in locations I wasn't at. I was even offered to do contract security in Afghanistan.

Is that something you even considered?

It is. I'm still considering it. But I've missed so much time with my daughter already that I don't want to go overseas voluntarily and miss more. The contracts for that job were all 6-12 months minimum.

Gannon at the demo range about to blow up C4
But let's back up to 2007. When you first came to the TKE house, you were sporting the long hair and beard. Some say you resembled Jesus, which is ironic given your feelings about religion. Were people shocked when you went clean cut? Was that a decision based on your choice to join the Army?

Ha, yeah it was summer 2008 when I cut my hair. I remember visiting during the summer for Hoover's wedding right after I cut it. As I was walking up to the house right after getting into town, Stylez came up asking where I got the TKE shirt and why I was wearing it. He thought I was some random guy he had never seen before. As for why I completely changed my look, I had just gotten tired of the long hair. I had the long hair for about 4 or 5 years at that point and just wanted a change.

Gannon and his daughter Lillie hanging out on the couch watching Mickey Mouse
What is your one of your favorite moments with your daughter??

When we would sit together on the couch watching cartoons and flip through her Mickey Mouse books. She loves looking at the pictures and grabbing my hand to point at the different characters. I enjoy just being able to sit back and relax with her next to me and watch her enjoy playing.

Is there anything that you learned as a result of joining Mu Nu that you still carry with you today??

One of the biggest things I took away from joining that I still benefit from today is making friends with a variety of different people. My high school friends and I were all interested in most of the same things. In TKE, everyone comes from different walks of life and it helps me now in practically any new setting. Army, new jobs, randomly meeting new people. I don't have any problem sparking up a conversation because I learned how to associate with every type of person. White, black, gay, straight, Republican, Democrat, whatever. Being in such a tight knit organization forces you to expand how you see the world and learn about the lives of others that you don't have any experience in yourself.

After the casino the night before Lee Dressler's wedding with Brock, his wife Sarah, Whytee, and Bishop
I remember your love of cars. If you were handed a blank check tomorrow and had to spend it on a car, what would you choose?

If I had a blank check for a car, I'd probably go with a brand new Dodge Hellcat Charger. It is a car I could actually afford to upkeep and modify if I wanted to. If upgrades and maintenance wasn't an issue though, I'd probably go get a 2003 Ferrari Enzo.

Why those two?

The Ferrari Enzo has been my favorite car pretty much since it came out. I love the styling, the bare bones features. It really is a road legal race car. Even though it's slow by today's supercar standards, I'd still want it. The Hellcat is just awesome. It has a big motor, big power output, but still has a backseat and all the features you could want.

What's the most important feature for you in a vehicle? What kind of car do you drive now?

Well considering I have a kid to drive around, safety is the biggest. But after the usual features or ratings that a car has, the thing I look for most is how much I will enjoy the car. For me, driving is my happy place. I don't just see a car as a way to get from one point to another. Driving is an experience and I want it to be fun, exciting, thrilling, and memorable. So after I make sure a car is safe for my daughter, I make sure it is a car I can look at in my driveway after years of owning it and still get butterflies in my stomach that its mine and I can drive it whenever I want. I have a 2012 Dodge Charger RT.

What one piece of advice can you give the newest Mu Nu Tekes?

One piece of advice I could give to the new guys is to really spend time at the house with everyone. Everyone knows to not neglect your grades and everything, that's the point of college. But it's easy to forget how fast the time goes and how much more effort it takes to see everyone after you graduate and move away. The TKE house and everyone that's a few blocks away becomes a few hours away. Enjoy "the good old days" while you're still living them.

Dan Garcea and Gannon at banquet in fall 2011
What's your most memorable moment in the fraternity?

Probably the night I got my letters and finished pledging. I can remember almost every detail of that night. It was the culmination of everything I had worked almost 3 months to achieve. I think it's a night everyone can remember in vivid detail. Nothing else in TKE would have happened if not for making it to that day. It is a day when everything is about you and your pledge class finally getting in. Everyone is there to help celebrate and congratulate the accomplishment. You get your first set of letters, your nickname, and of course the promise of your first banquet. Easily the one moment I remember most.

You are living in Chicago right now. Are you originally from the Chicago area?

I was born in Denver but moved to Chicago when I was 1.

Gannon at the Blackhawks championship parade in 2013
Why did your family move from Denver? If I remember correctly, your mom and dad are not your biological parents?

My dad got transferred at his job. It was between Boston, New York City, and Chicago. He decided on Chicago. No, I was adopted. But it never made any difference to me. They are my parents regardless if it's not biological.

Were you adopted at birth?

Yeah. I don't know much about my birth parents. I know my biological mom was paralyzed from the waist down, which was a big reason they gave me up for adoption

Did you ever meet your biological parents?

Nope. Never felt a need to. To me, I've never felt a difference between my parents and me and my friends and their parents.

What is one of your favorite childhood memories in Chicago?

Going down to the science museum with my dad. When I was younger, my dad traveled a lot for business so it was nice when we got a chance to hang out. And even from a young age, I loved science so getting to go to that museum was a lot of fun. I was always a fan of the U-505 and NASA exhibits.

Can you tell us a little about your experience living in Texas?

I lived there while I was in the Army. Honestly the experience wasn't terribly different than up here on any given day. The differences lie in how everything is organized and of course the weather. Everything in Texas is based around highways. You have to go to the grocery store? Highway. Walmart or Best buy, highway. Even if you get on the highway and take the very next exit, you still get on the highway. I was able to get away with wearing shorts and flip flops in December. It really only gets cold for about a month and a half in January and most of February. By March and April, it's back in the 70s and 80s again. Other notable things from Texas are just the small differences. People are more friendly there. Better BBQ, couple different fast food options, Cowboys stuff everywhere, random small things. But it actually isn't all that different from the day to day life of anywhere else, just minor things you get used to.

Who is the best Star Wars character? What is your favorite Star Wars movie?

I'm a fan of Darth Revan. He was a character from one of the video games and has a really deep and interesting back story. Empire Strikes Back, easy. It's absolutely the best of them all.

Do you think there will be more movies?

Oh yeah. Disney is slowing down after Solo didn't do so well but there will definitely be more. Star Wars is too big and too popular not to make more.

What are the top 5 things on your bucket list?

1. Drive a Ferrari

2. Go to Germany and Australia

3. Do a lap around the Nurburgring race track

4. Bungee jump

5. Shoot a .50 cal rifle

.

Frater Gannon and his buddy Chris with the lead singer of Nonpoint after the concert
  1. Beard or mustache? Beard
  2. Guitar or drums? Guitar
  3. Import or American muscle? American muscle
  4. Soda or pop? Pop
  5. Chicago or Dallas? Chicago
  6. Football or hockey? Hockey for sure
Created By
Steve Henquinet
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Credits:

Gannon Butler

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