One of the many things friends and family learned from Andrew is to “be brave and courageous always, even in the face of adversity.”
A loyal friend, brother, uncle and son: Andrew Brightwell made an impact in the lives of those whom he loved through his selfless heart, passion for learning and bright smile.
A geographic information systems technology sophomore, Andrew enjoyed the outdoors, often taking hunting and fishing trips with his father Dwight. For Dwight, some of the most fun trips involved Andrew and his father enjoying the camaraderie of being together.
“He’d get tickled about something, if I was having a hard time getting a fish in, he would get to laughing at me,” Dwight said. “When Andrew would laugh, he would laugh so hard that he’d cry – you know – he just couldn’t hardly see because his cheeks would just cover up his eyes.”
Even while away from home, Andrew ensured he stayed in touch with his family. By doing things such as sending a good morning text or attending his niece’s dance recitals, Andrew always showed his love for his family.
Eating ice cream out of the tub at the neighbors’ and making up new games to play were some of the memories that Andrew and his sister Avery shared. Avery was always inspired by his strong work ethic and learned many things from Andrew.
“When I think about him lately it’s just him smiling. His smile was so big and happy and he would just get so happy,” Avery said. “He would get so happy he would have tears coming out of his eyes and I loved that.”
Avery recalls Andrew being very calm, but very silly. Andrew was especially silly with her four-year-old daughter.
“He loved his niece so much,” Avery said. “She looked up to him because he was the fun uncle. He would always be so proud of her – be very involved in what she was doing. He was always involved, and we were close even though we lived kind of far.”
After being invited to visit campus with some friends from scouts who attended A&M, Andrew was impressed by the Aggie Band and fell in love with the traditions. Andrew always dreamed of being an Aggie. After walking around campus, Andrew would call his dad to share everything about his day.
“He was really glad to get to go to A&M, he was very excited to get accepted,” Dwight said. “He walked every inch of that campus, and he would call me in the evening or he would send pictures, and he’d tell me about everything he learned and what he’d seen and who he had met and where they were from.”
At any time Andrew would call his father to share everything he had learned that day.
“He’d just send me a text or he’d just call me and he’d just say, ‘Hey dad.’ … following that one phrase was anything you ever didn’t know,” Dwight said.
Andrew was an Eagle Scout from Sealy, Texas, and a three-time marksmanship state champion. Andrew enjoyed swimming, kayaking and cooking with the scouts on camping trips.
“In Scouts, he was always into the adventure with his friends and and the other scouts in his patrol there,” Dwight said. “He was a good friend, he was a loyal friend to everybody and he was loyal to us as a family too. He just loved everybody. He would worry about other people before he worried about himself.”
Andrew and his mother Shawn shared a passion for cooking and sharing recipes. Shawn recalls special mother-son dinners and a special trip to Washington, D.C., after Andrew’s graduation.
“We would take cooking classes together, and then we could compare recipes or he’d be sending pictures of what he was making for dinner, you know, things like that,” Shawn said. “That was something special that we shared together.”
Shawn recalls Andrew leading her on a tour of campus after attending A&M for a couple of weeks. Andrew especially enjoyed attending football games and Breakaway services on campus.
“He was such a good young man growing up and as he became a man, it was obvious that he was going to touch people and he was going to do things that were extraordinary, you know, in his own way.” Dwight said. “It might not have been known to anybody else, but he was going to make an impact in peoples’ lives.”