Henley honored for work on memorial foundation

lifelong friendship with late bull rider Brent Thurman changed the life of area resident Denise Henley.

Thurman’s commitment to residents with mental disabilities, which was well-known before his tragic death in a bull riding accident, molded Henley’s efforts to create a foundation in his honor.

As the event coordinator for the Brent Thurman Memorial Foundation, Henley has been a critical piece in ensuring events run in a fluid fashion.

Henley’s commitment, through a variety of initiatives and organizations, is evidence of her passion to put others before herself. Something she said Brent taught her how to do at a young age.  

“Brent and I knew each other since he was four. He was like a brother to me,” Henley said. “And after he passed away we got together as a committee, which comprised of a lot of lifelong friends and family, and created something special.”

Henley lauded the efforts of countless volunteers that keep the foundation possible.

“It’s all in his honor and it’s been an honor to make all of this possible,” Henley said. “I love Brent so much and he always believed in giving back. So that’s exactly what we wanted to do.”

Despite deciding not to continue the annual bull riding event, Henley said the Brent Thurman Foundation will continue with its golf tournament and its rodeo.

The proceeds from these events are given to various organizations across Hays County that serve children and adults with physical and mental disabilities and needs.

The Brent Thurman Foundation is just one example of how Henley stays committed and involved with charitable initiatives.

At the publication of the Citizen of the Year magazine, Henley has spent the last three months in Guatemala, serving the children of the Central American country on a medical mission trip. Her soul was bred for serving, and Henley does it instinctively, whether in Hays County or abroad.

“It’s been an honor being a part of the organization for all these years, especially seeing it grow to what it is today,” Henley said. “It’s a lot of hard work organizing such big events, but the turnout is always wonderful. It’s special to see people supporting each other, and there are a lot of great nonprofits doing awesome work all around us.”

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