Mom of HFD firefighter killed in motel blaze attends president's SOTU address

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The mom of a firefighter killed in a motel blaze is talking about her daughter's role in inspiring the next generation of firefighters (KTRK)

The mother of a fallen Houston firefighter was a special guest at the State of the Union Tuesday night getting an up close look at history and sadly because of her daughter's death.

Mary Sullivan, the mother of Anne Sullivan, was invited by U.S. Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) to attend President Obama's speech at the Capitol. Olson made the gesture to honor Anne.

Anne Sullivan was just 24 years old and still a probationary firefighter with the Houston Fire Department when a roof collapsed on top of her, Capt. EMT Matthew Renaud, 35, Engineer Operator EMT Robert Bebee, 41, and Firefighter EMT Robert Garner, 29 in a 5-alarm fire at the Southwest Inn in May 2013.

"She loved helping people. It's what she was meant to do," Mary Sullivan told Eyewitness News.

Sullivan is a proud mother who jumps at the chance to talk about her daughter. Tuesday night, she took her legacy to Washington D.C. as she attended the State of the Union, courtesy of Congressman Olson.

"It's been a year and half after the fire and here he is remembering my daughter, remembering her sacrifice a year and a half late,r and that means so much to me," said Sullivan.

Before her trip, Eyewitness News met up with Sullivan at a Houston Community College Fire Academy graduation ceremony. She was there because Anne's story has been an inspiration to future firefighters.

"I know the legacy she left behind," said cadet Martin Burns, diploma in hand.

Anne was a spunky, competitive and determined young woman She was small in stature, but her dream was big. She wanted to be a firefighter. Her route wasn't a direct one. She volunteered in Alief, and Stafford and when she was hired by HFD, she was thrilled. Every day was an adventure. May 31st, her mother said, was likely the same.

"I can guarantee you on the day of that fire when she entered that building she was excited and determined that if there was anyone who needed help, she was there for them. I know that at that moment she died that's what she was thinking," said Sullivan.

"There are risks to this job, I'll be the first to tell you that, but the satisfaction that my daughter got from doing this job, it's worth it," she added.

Anne's family set up a foundation in her honor to help other women become professional firefighters. Click here!story/c18bc for more information.
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