Lexi Bresnan got an unexpected phone call from the Homewood Firefighter’s Association one day.
The association came together a month before this year’s senior awards ceremony at Homewood High School and decided to honor her dad, John Bresnan, beloved former fire chief of the Homewood Fire Department, by creating a scholarship program in his memory.
“It was so special,” Bresnan said. “He was my hero. I loved him so much, and to know that the rest of the community remembered him the same way I did so special. Once they called me and asked if I wanted to be a part of it, I was so grateful.”
The inaugural Chief John Bresnan Memorial Scholarship was presented to Homewood High School graduate Carson Reaves at the May 20 awards ceremony at Homewood High School.
The scholarship is for graduating high school seniors who are going into careers of public service and exhibit gratitude, loyalty, intelligence and kindness, Bresnan said.
“They basically said, ‘We really want this to happen,’” Bresnan said. “They rounded up the fire and told them what they wanted to do. The scholarship money comes from the firefighters’ pockets. They all donated, and we raised about $500, which went directly from the firefighters’ pockets to Carson because this is something they wanted to start.”
Bresnan said the Homewood Firefighters Association hopes to have an application process for graduating high school seniors next year.
The association reached out to HHS senior and college counselor Bobby Deavers, who chose Reaves as a candidate, Bresnan said.
“This scholarship will pay for most of what I need for my dorm room and my books, which really saves me a lot of money in the long run,” Reaves said.
Reaves is going to Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina, to enroll in its nursing program with aspirations of being a travel nurse.
Reaves said he’s wanted to be a nurse since he was a sophomore.
“It’s the helping people aspect,” Reaves said. “I wanted to be a teacher, but I grew up with two of those. I thought, ‘I’m not sure that’s the one.’ I kinda felt the nursing field out and liked it.”
Bresnan said the one worry she had when her dad died was that nobody would remember how great he was, but over the past two years and through the scholarship, she’s learned that will never happen.
And knowing that the memorial scholarship is given in honor of someone who has died gives Reaves a “new perspective,” he said.
“I’m really blessed to have this scholarship,” Reaves said.
Bresnan said she was able to have coffee with Reaves and his parents after they reached out to the Homewood Fire Department’s Facebook page to ask if there was anyone in his family willing to tell them more about him.
“I really want to commend Carson for wanting to know more about my dad,” Bresnan said. “I kind of thought we would just give him the money and that would be that, but his family said, ‘We want to know more about this, we want to know who this guy was and why Carson got this.’ I am just incredibly grateful that the first scholarship we gave out was to someone so incredibly deserving.”