Hearts, wallets open for tribute scholarship
(pictured above: LaShun Huntley poses with his best friend’s sister, Barenda Mauney.)
A new scholarship in honor of Brandon P. Mauney, who passed away unexpectedly last month from heart disease, has prompted an outpouring of support from the community.
Mauney, 45, was a graduate of Carver High School and Winston-Salem State University and a member of Salem Lodge #139. He passed away Feb. 16 from hypertensive heart disease. The new B. Mauney Heart Scholarship will go to male students who are eligible for graduation from Carver. Originally planned as a $500 scholarship, the intended award grew when a page was created for the scholarship on the crowd-funding web site Indiegogo. In just a few weeks, more than $1,700 has been raised, and there is still more than a month left before the fundraising deadline.
LaShun Huntley, Mauney’s best friend, created the scholarship. He said Mauney always talked fondly about his time at Carver, where the two met, so he felt a Carver-based scholarship that would honor his friend while raising awareness about heart disease was a fitting tribute.
“This scholarship just came from his nature of giving and his interest in education and his love for Carver High School,” said Huntley, the CEO of Southside United Medical Center.
Huntley and Mauney bonded as high school freshmen, drawn together because they were both “Hip Hop heads.” Their love of the genre had them exchanging critiques of Run DMC, one of Mauney’s favorites, and other popular acts of the time. Their friendship continued after graduation, when they both attended Winston-Salem State University. After college, Mauney moved away to Charlotte to work as a computer analyst at Wells Fargo.
“He had a huge smile, an infectious smile,” Huntley said. “If you were down, it would pick you up. If you were sad, it would make you happy. Most people remember him by that smile.”
Mauney was also known for adeptness with computers. Friends would turn to him when technology issues arose, and he would oblige, even if it meant driving from Charlotte to Winston, said Huntley , who last spent time with Mauney on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 2). They spent some time looking through old Carver yearbooks while laughing and reminiscing.
Mauney was the youngest of five children. His sister, Barenda, also lived in Charlotte and would often look after his dog, Snoop, when her brother would travel to Winston-Salem to check on his 95 year-old aunt, Maxine Simmons. It was when he failed to drop Snoop off one morning that she knew something was wrong. After there was no answer at his house, she called the police. He had passed away in his sleep. Mauney had been taking medication for high blood pressure but was otherwise healthy, she said, so his death came as a complete shock.
Barenda calls the response to the scholarship “wonderful.”
“That was my heart,” she said of her brother. “That’s my baby. I had problems, he’s the one I can go and talk to because I know it wouldn’t go anywhere.”
The impact Mauney had on so many people is the reason why Huntley thinks the scholarship fundraising has been so successful. A decision on whether to give one large scholarship to a single student or smaller awards to several students will be made in the near future.
Huntley expects the scholarship or scholarships to be given this year. He wants a perpetual fund so that awards can be given each year. He plans to turn to corporations to help make that a reality. Plans for a fundraiser next February – a month dedicated to heart disease awareness and when Mauney would have celebrated a birthday – are also in the works.
To contribute to the B. Mauney Heart Scholarship, visit igg.me/at/BMauneyScholarship.