Nearly 15 years ago, Porter volunteer firefighter Gary Staley rushed into a burning building to make sure his fellow firefighters were not in harm's way. While searching, a tank loaded with nitrous oxide exploded, fatally injuring Staley and leaving his family in grief.
"We thought it would be a fitting thing to establish a scholarship fund in his honor," said Don Staley, who is a member of the Gary Staley Memorial Fund Board and father of Gary Staley. "Thus far we have done about 200 scholarships and now we're doing this partnership with Lone Star College and we're excited about that."
"In reading through the thousands of applications, although students have suffered a great trauma, so many reiterated the importance of completing their education so they can better provide for their families and their future." Foundation Executive Director Nicole Robinson Gauthier said.
In an effort to continue his legacy, the Staleys donated $50,000 to the Lone Star College Foundation through the Gary Staley Memorial Fund. The funds will create an endowment that provides scholarships for students entering the Fire Science program at LSC-Kingwood and LSC-Montgomery.
"We are incredibly honored by the generosity shown by Don and Ruby Staley and the board of the Memorial Fund," said Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor. "Their courage in the face of hardship is inspiring to all."
Gary Staley joined the Porter Volunteer Fire Department in 2000 and received the Rookie of the Year Award in 2002. In all, he participated in over 300 fire calls while working full time as an accountant for Anadarko Petroleum Corp.
"This gift is incredibly moving and a wonderful way to remember Gary and the sacrifice he made," said Nicole Robinson Gauthier, LSC Foundation executive director.
Since its inception, the Gary Staley Memorial Fund has provided more than $90,000 in grants to nearly 200 students seeking a college education.
Pictured above (left to right) are Nicole Robinson Gauthier, LSC Foundation executive director; Reo Kataoka, Gary Staley Memorial Fund Board member; Ruby Staley, Gary Staley Memorial Fund Board member and mother of Gary Staley; Dr. Katherine Persson, LSC-Kingwood president; Don Staley, Gary Staley Memorial Fund Board member and father of Gary Staley; Dr. Rebecca Riley, LSC-Montgomery president; Matt Staley, Gary Staley Memorial Fund Board member and brother of Gary Staley; Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., LSC chancellor; and Carter Johnson, Porter fire chief and Gary Staley Memorial Fund Board member. Also pictured is Gary Staley in the line of duty.
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