Couple serves community as firefighters
By VALERIE SWEETEN
Michelle and Mark Braswell have found a common thread in serving the community on a daily basis.
Michelle Braswell serves as battalion chief for the Missouri City Fire Department.
Mark Braswell is the captain with the Houston Fire Department at Station 6 and assistant fire chief at the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department at 9630 Telge Road.
The Braswells, who live in the Cypress area, both chose a firefighting career at an early age.
At the age of 18, Michelle Braswell joined the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department when her family transferred to Houston from Omaha, Neb.
She originally wanted to become an emergency medical technician, but fire training coincided with the EMT training and Braswell was hooked.
In 1994, the Braswells married after meeting in 1992 at CFVFD.
Michelle Braswell attended the San Jacinto College Fire Academy in 1995 and began working with the city of Rosenberg Fire Department in 1996.
In 1998, her career with the Missouri City Fire Department was set in motion.
It was Braswell's dream job she said.
There's the feel-good side of it, but I love the adrenaline and the rush when you get sweaty and fight fires. Everyday is different and challenging. I enjoy what we do," Braswell said.
Braswell graduated in 2008 with an associate's degree in fire protection from Lone Star College-Cy Fair at 9191 Barker Cypress and served as lieutenant for 10 years at Missouri City Fire Department.
Her recent promotion to battalion chief requires she oversees 18 people at four different stations during the C-Shift.
Russell Sander, Missouri City Fire Department chief, has known Braswell since 2003.
He said she is the type of employee that isn't afraid to embrace new challenges."
Braswell assisted with construction meetings for Fire Station 2 at Beltway 8 and U.S. 90A and annually runs physical and written tests for new recruits.
She's very dedicated to the fire profession. She's taken on significant projects and followed through with them. She's a team player," said Sander.
Mark Braswell, a volunteer with the CFVFD since 1988, served in the Naval Reserves from 1990-91 in Desert Storm.
After Desert Storm, Braswell worked as a volunteer with the College Station Fire Department for one year and continued his work with the CFVFD.
In 1999, Braswell graduated with an associate's degree in fire protection technology from Houston Community College at 3100 Main St.
He joined the Houston Fire Department after graduation.
This was something I liked after military duty. When I was growing up I could hear sirens leaving near our house, and I got hooked. You never know what each day is going to bring," Braswell said.
Having a spouse with the same unusual hours helps the couple plan for family dinners and events he said.
She truly knows where I'm coming from. It's hard for some wives. She understands what I'm feeling," Braswell said.
His position as assistant fire chief at CFVFD is a job he enjoys.
I oversee support areas, safety, radios, IT, communications and public information," Braswell said. That's all behind the scenes. Cy-Fair is like an extended family to me.
It's where I got my start. It's nice to give back and help out."
In their free time, the Braswell family, which includes daughter, Mary, and son, Matt, enjoy exercising and spending time together.
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