Bruce Hart Memorial Scholarship Foundation
Bruce A. Hart, a retired Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel, and the man credited with starting interscholastic lacrosse in Harford County Public Schools, died March 22, 2016 as a result of complications of being a quadriplegic since 1984.
LTC Hart was born in Northwest Baltimore and lived in Maryland area all of his life. While a student at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Hart lettered in football as a starting guard on the 1962-63 Poly Football team that played in the High School Orange Bowl in Miami, FL, and lacrosse, as a goalie.
After graduating from Poly in 1964, he attended Baltimore Junior College where he played both offense and defense, and captained the football team for two years, receiving All-JUCO honors. In 1966, Hart's education was interrupted with active duty in the United States Army. After a stint as the assistant football and lacrosse coach at Baltimore Junior College, he attended Towson State College and joined the National Guard as a Second Lieutenant to help pay educational expenses. Hart was a "two-way" performer on Towson State's first football team in 1969-70 playing, offensive and defensive tackle. Upon graduating from Towson State College in 1971, Hart accepted a teaching and coaching position at Towson High School in Baltimore County and remained there until 1973. His success as a lacrosse coach garnered him an offer of a position at Bel Air High School, where he was given the task of starting an interscholastic lacrosse program for the Harford County public schools.
During Hart's years in education, he coached lacrosse, football, wrestling and boys' volleyball, and amassed an 89.91% winning percentage. His teams won three Harford County lacrosse championships, two Baltimore County lacrosse championships, one District/ Regional lacrosse championship and two Harford County boys volleyball championships. He was selected as the "Coach of the Year" two times and the "Man of the Year" once by the United States Lacrosse Coaches Association and the National Interscholastic Lacrosse Association.
In 1978, then Captain Hart, left teaching for a full-time active duty position with the Army National Guard. He held many positions of responsibility and was promoted to the rank of Major in 1980. On the 7th of January, 1984, while returning from work at an armory, he was hit by a speeding car. The impact broke his neck in three places and severed his spinal cord, leaving him a quadriplegic paralyzed from the chest down.
After nine months in a VA hospital in Richmond, VA, Hart was discharged from the Army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel Brevet. During his 18 years of military service, he received awards including the United States of America Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, The Army Achievement Medal, the Maryland Meritorious Service Medal, the Maryland Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Expert Infantryman's Badge. LTC Hart graduated from the Command and General Staff College with honors in 1980 and was an Outstanding Graduate of the National Defense University in 1983.
Upon his medical discharge from the army in June 1984, he pursued his new life with the same intensity he once showed on the athletic field. He became a founding partner and vice president of Quick Lube, Inc, a chain of 10-minute oil change stores in the greater-Baltimore area. Hart also founded Independent Signs, a company that manufactures magnetic vehicle signs for the disabled.
He served on the membership committee of the Harford County Chamber of Commerce and also taught at Harford Community College in the VFT Program, where he was also an assistant lacrosse coach. On occasion, Hart provided research and development services for a company involved in military contracting, and he rarely turned down any of the numerous speaking requests from schools and civic groups who wanted to hear his views on motivation and disability awareness.
Hart was invited or appointed to a host of groups and positions, including:
Requested to serve on Harford Community College's Committee for Assistance to Disabled Persons
Appointed to the Paralyzed Veterans of America's Spinal Cord Injury Education and Training Foundation Board of Directors (serving two, three-year terms in Washington, DC).
- September 1989
Appointed by the Harford County Board of Education to its Advisory Committee on Special Education
Selected by the Governor's Committee for Employment of the Handicapped as the "1989 Handicapped Employee of the Year" for Harford County.
- June 1991
Appointed to the Board of Directors of the Maryland Center of Independent Living and to the Eden Mill Nature Center's Board to work on accessibility issues.
Appointed to the Harford County Library Advisory Committee for the Board of Education
Appointed as the county wide precinct coordinator for a candidate's bid for Harford County Executive.
The Governor appointed Hart to a 5-year term in Annapolis, as a Commissioner and a member of the Executive Board of the Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism.
The Superintendent of Harford County Schools appointed him as a member of the Board of Educations' Ethics Panel, where he was elected as the chairman three consecutive years.
Hart also served as a member of:
- The Maryland-Delaware chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Disabled American Veterans.
- An active member and elder of Grand View Christian Church in Fallston.
He obtained a Master's Degree in Christian Counseling in 2002. He also held the position of Vice Principal at James Run Christian Academy High School. Hart was selected by the Baltimore Polytechnic Institutes Alumni Association as its 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award.
As a father and coach, LTC Bruce Hart often said:
"There are two things that no one can take from you: your name and your reputation; only you can give them away."
The Bruce Hart Memorial Scholarship Foundation was started in August 2016 to endeavor those left behind to always strive to be the better you. As his daughter, Lindsay, so eloquently put it:
"My father was he believed very strongly in education and bettering yourself. He also believe in the game of lacrosse and what the game can do for a person to build them up and make them a part of something bigger then just themselves. It is important to my family to continue on in my fathers honor to help someone reach their full potential by helping them further their education and get the opportunity to play lacrosse.
"This memorial scholarship fund should be important to everyone else because they will truly be making a difference in a young adult's life. Everyone deserves the chance and opportunity to further their education and, in that respect, choose a better path for their future. We only hope to have a small hand in making that dream a possibly."
Please note: any one is welcome to come and watch the games and cheer on the teams. A ticket is required to gain entry to the Crease Clash After Party Bash, but anyone is welcome to purchase a ticket to attend.
We HOPE to see you there!
Below are the current available groups for this program.
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