Mother turns loss into a Run Against Teen Violence

Gwen Braswell Nash, mother of murdered teen, in 2011 at the annual 5K run held to raise awareness about teen violence. (WTOP Photo/Kathy Stewart)

WASHINGTON — A mother from Spotsylvania, Va. who lost her son to teen violence nearly eight years ago, continues fighting to raise awareness in hopes that other parents won’t have to live her nightmare.

Gwen Braswell Nash, a retired Army Lt. Colonel, lost her 16-year-old son on Jan. 20, 2006. “He ran into something evil that night and that evilness took his life,” she says.

Baron “Deuce” Braswell was fatally stabbed in the heart. “You even question whether you want to go on with life but I knew I had another son,” she says. On Saturday, Sept. 21 at 8:30 a.m. is the 8th Annual Baron Braswell Run Against Violence held at Courtland High School in Spotsylvania.

She says the run is a way to honor her son’s legacy, take a stand against senseless teen violence and raise money for a memorial scholarship fund in her son’s name. She says, “So far we’ve given out over $102,000 dollars in scholarships.”

Nash realizes that her efforts will not put an end to all teen violence. But says she has to do something to raise awareness about this devastating problem that’s killing our youth. “I never expected someone to take my son’s life,” Nash says. Her son’s birthday is Sept. 29.

“I think about those what ifs, because he would be a young man now, 25 years old,” says Nash. She says she’ll never get to see him married or bring his first child into the world or all the milestones you want to share with your kid.

Nash says she has received much positive feedback from the community for reaching out and letting people know that teen violence is wrong and a tragedy. She doesn’t want anyone to experience such a violent loss.

“I know what I went through as a mother having to go to arraignment hearings before I could even bury my child, to face the perpetrators and the courtroom before I could even bury my child. And it was hard,” Nash says adding, “You live with this forever. It never goes away.”

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