Cathy and Tommy Mullins accepted the Ford Oval of Honor on behalf of their son, Brandon Mullins, who gave his life serving his country. The Oval of Honor program recognizes common individuals who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to serve and defend the United States.
President and General Manager of Champion Ford, Duke Brubaker, presented the award to the Mullins in a special ceremony at Churchill Downs during the Derby festivities. Cathy Mullins struggled to put words to the experience, referencing it as further proof that Brandon’s legacy lives on.
“We are honored and humbled that they would think of us – typically, the award is reserved for living veterans,” she said. “This comes at a great time with Memorial Day approaching. We consider it an honor and a blessing to continue to educate others about the holiday and how it honors those that died on active duty.”
He was 19 when he enlisted, eventually embarking on a mission in Afghanistan as part of the War on Terror during the spring of 2011. The war was one of the highest-casualty wars in recent years.
“Owensboro and Daviess County completely wrapped their arms around us,” Mullins said. “The community support has been overwhelming to us. Brandon’s legacy lives on through this award and others and the many scholarships. He’s a fallen hero that’s still giving back.”
The Mullins family is adamant about preserving Brandon’s legacy and teaching people what it means to pay the ultimate sacrifice. Mullins said the military was perfect for her son and that he genuinely “found himself” while enlisted.
“He was doing what he loved. He was often on the edge of trouble during high school, but the military allowed him to find himself,” his mother said. “He gave it all, and he will outlive all of us because of that.”
She added that many are foreign to the cost of freedom and often take too much for granted.
The family always leaves a seat vacant during the holiday to honor their fallen son.
Mullins said she knew Brandon was present during the festivities because she heard “Mr. and Mrs. Mullins” from afar when crossing the street to Churchill Downs. It was the voice of Apollo High School graduate Juan Thomas who received the Brandon Scott Mullins leadership award and was on active duty for the National Guard.
August will mark 11 years since Mullins’s passing.
May is #MilitaryAppreciationMonth and serves as an excellent opportunity to express appreciation to those that dedicate their lives to preserving freedom.