March 31, 2020
Just a few weeks after starting their freshman semester at Williamson, the Kimp triplets received a phone call from their mother. They learned that their father had passed away after a long illness. Their mother wanted them home, with family.
Such news could have altered – if not disrupted – their college plans. The triplets remembered how their father always wanted them to go to Williamson. That memory carried them through their first difficult semester and the following three years.
Triplets Dashaun, Daiquon, and Damier knew Williamson had meant the world to their father. Darnell Kimp, a father of six, whose family included triplet sons, learned of the trades college during his 22-year career at Eddystone Generating Station. He advanced from the mail room to shift foreman at the Exelon plant, which recruits many Williamson students.
“He ended up training guys from Williamson,” says Daiquon who recently interviewed with Exelon employees. They fondly remembered his father.
Darnell Kimp saw the character and work ethic of the young men from Williamson. He wanted his boys to be a part of it. That’s why it hit the triplets hard that their father wouldn’t see them graduate from the school he so admired.
When he died, the boys heeded their mother’s wishes. They took a week’s leave of absence from classes, shops and football and returned home to Germantown, Pennsylvania. They thought the leave might end up permanent. “I definitely wanted to leave first semester,” Daiquon recalls. “With football season, my Dad passing away, and everything else going on, it was stressful.” But his father would have insisted they stay in college.
From the start, Mr. and Mrs. Kimp treated the triplets as individuals. They nurtured the boys’ unique interests in the trades. All three attended vocational and technical career high schools in Philadelphia, where Daiquon studied vendor machine repair technology, Dashaun got trained and certified in welding, and Damier participated in an equine veterinary science program.
Raising six children in the Germantown section of Philadelphia wasn’t easy but their father had a steady income and their mother took occasional shifts at a neighborhood restaurant. Darnell and Dawn Kimp were able to provide for their large family, until 2012 when he became ill and unable to work. From then on, the Kimps managed on Darnell’s disability checks and some help from extended family.
Until his illness, Darnell had always considered Williamson an option for his sons’ post-secondary education. Now, with their family income drastically reduced, Williamson was the only option. It was all they could afford.
Getting into Williamson wasn’t exactly one, two, three, and done. One brother, Damier, was wait-listed, but at the last minute, was admitted to the masonry program. Everyone in the Kimp home, and at the college, celebrated: The triplets were coming to Williamson.
“It would have been a huge mistake, if I didn’t let him into the program,” says Director of Masonry Pete Zwolak 0W7, referring to Damier. “He’s so versatile, he can do whatever he wants. He leads with action. All three of them are a joy. Their parents did a great job!”
Seeing them around campus or in the cafeteria, it’s hard to tell the triplets apart. But in shop, it is easy to differentiate them as young tradesmen. Dashaun has excelled in machine tool technology, while using his expert welding skills to help his shop mates. Daiquon “is a superstar in the shop,” says Power Plant Director Scott Chillman. “He passed all of Exelon’s POSS/MASS tests [aptitude tests for power plant operations positions] and got certified to go into nuclear testing,” which only half the class accomplishes each year. Damier competed in the 2019 Junior Bricklayer 500 at Fizzano Brothers in Crum Lynn and won first place, beating out masons from Thaddeus Stevens Technical College and union apprentices.
As seniors, the triplets are busy with final projects: Damier is building a brick fireplace that he designed. Dashaun is constructing his last vise, a clamping device all machinists are required to produce in their third year. Along with his senior shopmates, Daiquon has had plans to go to Limerick Generating Station to perform maintenance and inspection on their nuclear reactor during the two-week outage.
The Kimp brothers have all received offers for full-time jobs after graduation. Although they want to remain local and be near their mother, their older sister is now living with her. They take comfort in knowing this, as they consider jobs further away.
This spring, the Kimp triplets will receive their diplomas from Williamson and we know their mother, two older brothers, older sister, and their extended family will cheer them on. But nobody’s support will be more deeply missed than Darnell Kimp’s, the father who always believed his sons belonged at Williamson.
“Everyone misses him,” Dashaun says, “I think he would definitely be proud.”
The Williamson community honors the memory of Darnell Kimp, whose legacy can be seen in the lives of his three sons and their successful futures.
Your support makes it possible for students like Dashaun, Daiquon, and Damier to attend Williamson College of the Trades with a full scholarship that covers tuition, room, and board. You can help to prepare the next generation of Williamson Men to be respected leaders and productive members of society by Making a Gift Today.