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The Gift of a Lifetime

After tragedy and tears, former 12th Man Foundation employee Noel Devin’s legacy continues to shine.

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Noel was a 2004 graduate of Texas A&M, where she earned a BA in history. She began her career with the 12th Man Foundation in 2006, accepting a job in the ticket office.

Activity and anticipation were swirling outside the 12th Man Foundation offices on Oct. 17. As more than 100,000 revelers packed the Texas A&M campus in anticipation of the A&M-Alabama football game, a palpable buzz was steadily working its way toward a crescendo for the 2:30 p.m. kickoff.

Normally, the atmosphere inside the 12th Man Foundation offices resembles the excitement of another Aggie game day, but that Saturday was different.

Certainly, there were smiles that morning inside the 12th Man Foundation’s board room. But there were also tears, sincere hugs and vivid memories of Noel and Thomas “Mac” Devin, whose spirits continue to grace the lives of others.

Nineteen months have passed since Noel and her father, Mac, were senselessly murdered inside Noel’s home in Bryan. The events shocked the entire College Station-Bryan community and rocked the 12th Man Foundation, a place Noel worked for eight years.

But in the face of unspeakable tragedy, some silver linings have slowly emerged.

The most recent occurred on Oct. 17, when a group of Noel’s family, friends and coworkers gathered for a reception to honor the first recipients of the Noel Devin ’04 Memorial Scholarship. Countless 12th Man Foundation donors contributed more than $87,000 to the endowment, and three deserving candidates were selected for this year’s award.

Two recipients, Paige Linne (equestrian) and Kristen Grant (women’s basketball) are graduate students and former A&M athletes, and the third, Kirsten Lance, is a longtime student worker in the Foundation’s ticket office.

“This is a special day,” said Karla Devin, Noel’s mother. “It’s something that Noel would want, and it’s something that Noel believed in very much. She was very privileged in that she had scholarships when she went to school. To be able to give something to somebody else and make good come out of the situation to me is just priceless. It leaves such a positive feeling to you because you know it’s a blessing to the students.”

Karla, who lives in College Station, has continued to work part-time with the 12th Man Foundation Ticket Center, where she helps staff various events throughout the year. To Karla, the scholarship recipients are an ideal representation of the types of students Noel and Mac would be proud to support.

Linne completed her undergraduate degree in animal science and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in equine industry management. Karla said Mac, who was a professional services veterinarian and A&M class of 1989, would have been thrilled with Linne’s selection.

Grant, a women’s basketball letterman from 2011-14, is seeking a graduate degree in recreation, park and tourism sciences while serving as the video coordinator for her former team. Noel spent countless work hours involving women’s basketball and had a longtime affinity for the Grant family.

Lance, an education major who will graduate in May, began working with the ticket office as a freshman. She met Noel on her first day of work and the two quickly struck up a friendship. Lance is one of many who fondly remembers Noel’s spirit of helping others.

“I remember being at work one morning, and I tweeted something about really wanting some doughnuts for breakfast,” recalled Lance. “About 20 minutes later, someone dropped a bag of doughnuts in front of me. I turned around, and there was Noel. She always did little things like that. She was very giving.”

Thanks to this scholarship endowment, that giving will continue for a long time.

 

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2015 November

"The more we (Aggies) get involved, the more successful Texas A&M is going to be.

It's extremely rewarding to be able to give back to something about which you are passionate. We love coming back over here and love being involved. For as long as I can, I want to try and do more."

Jim and Carmen Sheffield
Diamond Champions Council Members