November 1, 2022
Graduates of The University of Alabama, Maren and Gene Pugh have been residents of Tuscaloosa since they married in 1999. Maren is a mortgage banker and Gene is a firefighter with Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue. Their son, Gabe, is a UA mechanical engineering student who will graduate in December. He’s also a student athlete, a long snapper, for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team.
“God blessed us with a son that not only is healthy but humble and with a heart for others,” Maren Pugh shared. “Gabe has always had high goals and the self-discipline to achieve them.”
As a senior at Northridge High School in Tuscaloosa, Gabe Pugh received the John “Bubba” Trotman “Service Above Self” award from the Montgomery Rotary Club while participating in the AL/MS All-Star football game. “Being there for Gabe during his endeavors is what has made our relationship strong. He has made me a better person,” Maren Pugh said.
In December 2013, Pugh was introduced to Brewer-Porch Children’s Center after meeting Misha Greer, a counselor who worked there. The center is operated by UA’s College of Community Health Sciences and provides treatment programs for Alabama’s special-needs children, adolescents and their families.
“I remember bonding with the children there and the immediate sense of urgency I felt to help in any way I could,” Pugh said. She became very involved, donating her time, money and items to the children there. The first time she took her son with her, he was about 12 years old. “Shortly after he and I arrived home that evening, Gabe came downstairs holding the Xbox asking if he could give it to the kids so they could have something to play with. He did get to donate not only his Xbox but all the games the staff would allow,” she said.
Not being able to visit Brewer-Porch Children’s Center due to COVID-19 is what inspired Maren Pugh to create an endowed support fund. The Gabriel Glover Pugh Brewer Porch Endowed Support Fund will provide funding for discretionary support to enhance the mission of the center and provide basic care needs and other items that will foster a nurturing and caring environment for children. The endowed support fund is the first, and currently the only privately funded endowment, to support the center.
Pugh chose to name the support fund in honor of her son as she wants to instill in him a legacy of giving. “Although Gabe grew up in the exact opposite environment that the children at Brewer-Porch have, he has overcome many challenges, as well as proven the many people that have told him ‘He can’t’ wrong. I hope the children at Brewer-Porch will be able to find inspiration in adversity, laugh at the word can’t and never accept defeat.”
Pugh believes keeping The University of Alabama in the top spot on a very long list of academic and athletic distinctions starts with the future of the University, the state and the children. “I truly wish that everyone who cares about the University could visit Brewer-Porch as they would not only be inspired to help and support these children but fill a hole in their hearts they never knew was there. We did not name this endowment after our son to spotlight his achievements. We just chose to give a little so that the children could have a chance at life.”