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Family pays it forward by honoring a father, husband and firefighter

Mark Braswell knew he wanted to be a firefighter since he was 5 years old, frequently begging his mother to “follow that fire truck” when one passed them in the car. Braswell went on to live his dream serving as a captain in the Houston Fire Department and assistant chief for the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department.

Tragically, Braswell’s life was cut short in a bicycling accident. To honor his memory, the family has established The Mark Braswell Memorial Scholarship which will provide tuition for Lone Star College-CyFair students attending the Fire Science Academy.

“Mark had a family motto that he taught his children and he lived his life by. It was ‘Braswells help people,’” said Michelle Braswell, wife of Mark Braswell. “Mark did that every day by living his dream as both a career and volunteer firefighter,” she said. “Sandra (Mark’s mother) and I wanted to create this scholarship to continue the family motto ‘Braswells help people’ and to share Mark's legacy for years to come.”

The LSC Fire Science Technology program helps students meet the necessary requirements for an Associate of Arts degree which can lead to a rewarding career in firefighting. There are more than 26,000 firefighters employed in Texas alone.

“We are incredibly moved by the generosity of the Braswell family,” said Dr. Seelpa Keshvala, LSC-CyFair president. “Their spirit and kindness exemplifies Mark’s dedication to service and helping others.”

Braswell joined the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department at the age of 18 which led to his decision to become a career firefighter. During his 26 year tenure, Braswell held several positions in the Cy-Fair volunteer Fire Department including emergency medical technician, dispatcher, district chief over suppression and finally assistant chief over Support Services. Braswell also worked full time as a captain in the Houston Fire Department at Station 6, located in the Heights.

“This endowment at the Lone Star College Foundation in Mark’s name will go a long way to help many Lone Star College students achieve their dream of becoming a firefighter, said Nicole Robinson Gauthier, CFRE, LSC Foundation executive director. “LSC Foundation is proud to work with families like the Braswells, as well businesses and non-profit organizations to assist students in gaining more education and becoming an important part of our community.”

Braswell also served as a seaman in the Naval Reserve and was called to active duty during the Gulf War in 1991.

“I want people to remember the love Mark had for his family,” said Michelle Braswell. “Anyone who knew Mark knew how much he loved his children, Matt and Mary, and how much he loved his family.”

The Mark Braswell Memorial Scholarship was established to honor the memory of Mark Braswell, a lifelong firefighter. Pictured (left to right) Nicole Robinson Gauthier, CFRE, LSC Foundation executive director; Dr. Deana Sheppard, vice president of Instruction; Dr. Seelpa Keshvala, LSC-CyFair president; Dr. Christina Hagerty, dean of Public Service, Health and Behavioral Sciences; Matt Braswell; Sandra Braswell; Mary Braswell; Michelle Braswell; and Glenn Turner, associate professor of Fire Science.

Founded in 1991, the Lone Star College Foundation has expanded its initial investment of $20,000 into an extensive portfolio of $26 million. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided over $13 million in scholarships to nearly 13,000 students, as well as more than $4 million in program support. The mission of the LSC Foundation is to change lives through student scholarships and quality educational programs achieved by excellence in relationship building, fundraising and investment management. Visit LoneStar.edu/Giving for more information.

Lone Star College offers high quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education to 99,000 students each semester. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., serves as chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area with an annual economic impact of nearly $3 billion. LSC consists of six colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.