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Remembering Officer Lee Grant

“His life was spent giving back to the community,” Alpena Police Department Lt. Eric Hamp said of his friend and coworker, Officer Lee Grant.

Hamp described Grant as a very loving guy who had a knack to be able to talk to anybody.

“Lee had a huge heart and was a very giving guy,” Hamp said. “He always had a way to make us all laugh.”

Certainly, I would agree. As I sit and reflect on all of the deep conversations I had with people in writing this column, I found myself at a loss for words to accurately describe the true impact Grant left on our community.

From gas station employees working during Grant’s shifts to people like me whom he encouraged to get out and volunteer, he always had a way to make you feel like you mattered. He left you inspired to want to strive to make a difference, just like he did in his life.

I was fortunate enough to experience Grant on many different levels during the seven years he and I knew each other. I shadowed him in uniform when I was exploring what I wanted to do during college. He trusted my knowledge and passion for the game of softball as we worked to promote sports in the community. I competed against him in trivia, which I knew he loved, and I volunteered with him on different boards.

I was fortunate enough to be one of the people that he inspired. Like many, his positive words and encouragement are forever etched in my mind and will never be forgotten.

Between the 19 years Grant spent wearing an Alpena Police Department uniform and being a dedicated volunteer, coach, and board member of many local organizations, he devoted his life to the public and to finding ways to ensure that the local youth had endless opportunities.

Grant was a longstanding volunteer and board member of Alpena’s Childcare and Development Center, Huron Shore Babe Ruth League, and Jets Football Program. He was also one of the core founders of the Thunder Bay Blockhead Baseball Program, which he left behind as the president.

“The teams that Lee coached won more games than they lost,” said Andrew Perrin, a fellow coach and friend of Grant. “Not because he was an expert at the game, but because he had a way of bringing a team together. The players always seemed to give a little more for him.”

Bob Kollen, a friend who served alongside Grant on numerous boards, commented on his friendship and experience with Grant: “He always put thought and all of his heart into the decisions that he helped make.”

Kollen also stated with confidence that Grant was a driving force in the creation of the Thunder Bay Blockhead Program and the future seasons to be played.

“He left his mark on this program, and that will not be forgotten,” said Kollen.

“Lee did it right,” said Sgt. Don Leaym, a fellow APD brother. “He spent every minute he could enjoying life. Some of us work as much as we can and miss out on family time. Lee was different and did everything he could to be involved with his family and always kept his family’s best interest in mind. Lee had a heart of gold. He wasn’t just a coworker, he was a great friend to me and I will miss him dearly. My heart goes out to his wife and children.”

While giving himself entirely to the community, Grant always made sure to take care of his family first. His conversation and social media always flooded with his love and support for his wife, Barb, and three kids, Emma, Blake, and Wyatt. Grant always made it possible to be there for all three of his kids as a coach and father — sometimes even all three of them for the same sport on the same day, at the same time.

“He was overall a big inspiration,” joked Emma, Grant’s daughter. “I looked up to him and I still do. But let me just say his dad jokes were pretty awful.”

She described her dad as an amazing guy that was always there for her — for a joke, a post-game lecture, or a compliment. She described how hard it was for her to sit beside her father in the hospital, though she still found the strength to talk to her father like she always has. Although Grant couldn’t respond in the way that she was used to, he still made it possible to give her signs that he was still listening.

“At least I know that he was listening to me, like he always did,” she said. “He was always there for me through my hardest times and my easiest. And that’s all I could ever ask for in a father figure.”

Grant’s son, Blake, shared that he loved that his dad coached him in basketball and baseball and always pushed for him to do his best. Grant’s oldest son Wyatt loved that he and his father always hunted together and that he will always have those memories.

Friday, after the conclusion of Grant’s funeral, a police procession took place, inviting the community to line the streets to pay their respects.

At that time, Alpena County Central Dispatch’s Adam Lumsden asked all units to please standby for priority radio traffic to deliver Officer Grant’s final call. They announced Grant’s end of watch as Sunday, March 15, 2020 and thanked him for his dedication, loyalty and service to the citizens of Alpena, Michigan and the United States, securing him from his tour of duty.

Grant’s final call ended with a heartfelt statement from Lumsden; “He leaves behind a loving family and a grateful community. He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. Officer Grant, rest in peace, sir. Godspeed, brother, we have it from here.”

Kelli Francisco works front desk at The News.

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