Negrete Firefighter Foundation scholarship recipients start at Fire Academy
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Central Texas Fire Academy last week, on Monday, thanks to scholarships from the Negrete Firefighter Foundation.
Two are from Copperas Cove: Delihlah Jackson and Dylan Bogard, while the third, Tyler Williams, is from the Austin area, according to Maria Negrete, who founded the organization last year after the death of her son, Copperas Cove firefighter Jose Negrete. The Negrete Firefighter Foundation had a goal to raise enough money to pay the way for one person to go through the fire academy. Instead, they raised enough to send three.
These three will be put through the paces as they learn about how to become a firefighter over the next six months.
“We are super proud of them. It’s just a way for Jose’s legacy to start in his name, so we’re honored to have them,” Maria said.
Dylan Bogard said that receiving the scholarship and starting at the fire academy is fulfilling a long-time dream.
“When I found out that I was selected for the scholarship, not only was I excited to start this new journey, but I was also very grateful and honored to be selected out of the many people who applied for this scholarship,” Bogard said. “The impact that it has had on me is that it has begun the foundation for my career path that I have wanted to go into since I was a freshman.”
For Delihlah Jackson, this scholarship allowed her to follow in her mother’s footsteps.
“I feel extremely fortunate and honored to have been chosen for this scholarship,” Jackson said. “There were plenty of other qualified candidates looking for a spot, and I’m just happy to have been given one of them. The Negrete Firefighter Foundation allows me to not only honor my mother who served as a firefighter for 25 years but also gives me an opportunity to show my daughters that there is no limit in what they can do serve their community.”
For Tyler Williams, firefighting has been a dream since he was in middle school.
“I’ve always had a desire to be of service to others,” Williams said. “Ever since attending the Copperas Cove MIMES firefighter camp in eighth grade, I knew then on that I wanted to be firefighter. However, being the youngest of eight to a poor family, I was never afforded the opportunity to pursue that dream. That was until I was told about the Negrete Firefighter Foundation. I credit Miss Maria [Negrete] with helping to change my life and make my son proud of me.”
Maria said she was grateful to the community for supporting the Negrete Firefighter Foundation and making this possible.
“They saw our vision and now it’s reality,” Maria said. “It’s something that I take pride that it’s going to help the community because wherever they get their certification or they get through the Fire Academy, they’re going to be able to get a job somewhere and help out.”
Maria said that these young men and woman who are going through the fire academy might even go back to the community they are from to serve as a firefighter.
“I know that as far as firefighters, there’s a great need right now,” Maria said. “There’s a lot of people, a lot of the cities and towns that are needing them, so hopefully we can fill some of those gaps here.”
As for the Negrete Firefighter Foundation, the next step is to begin preparing for this year’s fundraiser, scheduled to be held in August. Starting later this month, Maria said she and her family and friends will begin sending out letters requesting monetary donations or gift certificates for this year’s silent auction.
“It’s going to be another big event, and hopefully we can get the same community to back us and make a difference in somebody else’s life and help them come forward with this,” Maria said.
Maria said that they will be in need of volunteers for the event as well as food vendors for the event. Those interested in helping with this event can reach out to Maria through the Negrete Firefighter Foundation’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NegreteFF. The Negrete Firefighter Foundation will also be sharing updates on other fundraising opportunities through their Facebook page.
The Foundation held a fundraising event in August of 2021, and with the help of local sponsors and a silent auction, they ended up raising enough funds to send three future firefighters through the Fire Academy, at $3,200 per person. The Negrete Firefighter Foundation additionally paid for each of the recipients’ academy uniform shirts, their background checks, their physicals and other costs associated with the process, as well as textbooks.