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A Life Remembered with
the Brandon Bennett Scholarship

by Alexandra Houton, Special Contributor

[Brandon Bennett]Sun up and sun down. That is what most of us are used to seeing each and every day. As we go to work we may watch the sunrise and after a long, hard day, we drive back in the sunset. Our families, siblings, partners, pets await our arrival eagerly each day. And before we know it, the sun is hidden and the day is over. In Euless, the sun rising takes a new meaning in this community. Every day the sun rises, is another day of growth and life for the tree planted outside of the Euless Police Department.

The tree was dedicated as part of a memorial for Brandon Bennett. On March 9, 2014, Brandon Tyler Bennett was struck and killed by a drunk driver on his way to military weekend duty. Brandon had been an enlisted soldier in the Texas Army National Guard since 2010.

When Brandon was not training to defend our country, he was giving back to his local community. Brandon had grown up in HEB and had always been active in its suburban lifestyle. This included his desire to become a Euless Police Officer, which was expressed to his mother just months before his passing.

"He was always involved in his community," says mom, Brenda Holden. "I've heard so many stories, regarding the people in the National Guard, that I had no idea he was doing. He was such a giving kid. I wanted to give back and help others too."

[Cadet]
"It has given me more of an understanding of drunk driving overall.”

And that is exactly what Mrs. Holden did. In Brandon's honor, there is now a $500 scholarship fund in his name that is awarded each semester to help a Euless Police Cadet with school. In order to qualify for this scholarship each cadet must write an essay about the dangers of drunk driving, and the best essay is awarded the Brandon Bennett Scholarship.

Ray Latu, this year’s recipient, ultimately wants to end drunk driving as a whole, and this fund has helped him pursue formal education, making his dreams a close reality.

Thanks to the Brandon Bennett Scholarship, each day the sun rises and sets is another day closer to becoming a Euless Police Officer for these cadets. With this title, and the passion stemmed by Brandon's legacy, each cadet is filled with a new understanding of the badge, and the mission that goes along with it.

"Formal education is vital for success as a Police Officer. This scholarship has helped us promote two former cadets to Patrol Officers," says Lieutenant Brandon Zachary, who supervises the Cadet program. "It has definitely been able to make an impact in our town."

A soul was lost in 2014, but not forgotten, thanks to the educational opportunity provided by Brandon Bennett's family.