| Ocala Star-Banner
Smiles, laughter, recollections and somber moments stuffed First Baptist Church of Ocala on Friday through the funeral service for Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham.
Graham, who died in a plane crash Sunday morning, was remembered by fellow regulation enforcement officers domestically, statewide and all through the nation, who paid tribute to the 58-year-old father of three, husband, chief and group chief.
As they filed into the large church, individuals hugged, cried and chatted. The big American flag on the driveway resulting in the church off Southeast Maricamp Highway was an emblem of Graham’s life, legacy and what he meant to the Metropolis of Ocala.
Greg Graham’s kids keep in mind loving father
Though the service was held at First Baptist, it was led by Pastor Mark Cummins of Church of Hope in Ocala. In his opening remarks, Cummins mentioned the story and legacy of Graham’s life is just not outlined by his uniform, however by the entire lives the chief had touched.
Graham’s daughter, Kalin, a firefighter and firefighter of the yr, informed the viewers that she was the youngest, her father’s pumpkin, and his favourite – a quip that drew laughter from the group.
She talked about how her father was along with her in a sleepover on the hearth station and the way a lot of a pleasure it was to be with him.
Tyler, the eldest of Graham’s three kids, additionally a firefighter, remembered when he went to a name and noticed his father within the ambulance serving to his colleagues take away the affected person’s clothes. He mentioned he was informed to go relieve his father. And when he did, his father allowed him to do his job.
Mark, the center baby, mentioned his father liked Ocala and Ocala liked him. He thanked everybody for being there for them.
Mayor Kent Guinn mentioned Graham made an affect on his life. He mentioned Graham taught him endurance, which the mayor mentioned has made him a greater individual and a greater mayor.
He mentioned Graham’s philosophy of doing the suitable factor, discovering methods to say sure, treating everybody with respect and having enjoyable, will at all times resonate with him.
Guinn mentioned due to Graham’s amnesty program, the place these affected by drug dependancy can go to the police division and an officer will take that individual to a therapy facility for assist, the Marion County Hospital District has decided to dedicate a center on the Beacon Level advanced to the chief. Will probably be referred to as the Chief Greg Graham Restoration Middle.
Florida Lawyer Common Ashley Moody mentioned she was humbled to offer a speech about Graham, whom she knew as a real, calm man who had an enormous coronary heart and a smile to match.
“The lawyer basic is just not speculated to cry,” she mentioned, “so I’m going to attempt to not.”
Moody mentioned Graham cared about individuals, and she or he thanked his kids for following of their father’s footsteps in order that his legacy will reside on.
Metropolis lawyer remembers Graham’s capacity to deal with life’s issues
Longtime pal and Metropolis Lawyer Pat Gilligan mentioned Graham would reply numerous cellphone calls whereas they had been out from all types of individuals, and the chief would at all times discover a approach to assist them. Gilligan mentioned Graham was constructed to deal with the day-to-day issues life throws at everybody, and he had broad shoulders that would deal with these adversities.
He mentioned he remembered the day he met Graham. The longer term chief, along with his boyish appears, was sitting amongst different officers however sporting shorts, flip flops, a T-shirt and earrings. Gilligan took him for anyone being arrested.
However then the younger man, whom Gilligan later discovered was working undercover, stood up, talked, and held the eye of everybody within the room.
Gilligan mentioned Graham recurrently talked about his officers and concerning the good job they had been doing. He mentioned Graham liked his spouse, Amy, a lot that he acquired a tattoo on his arm along with her identify. Requested why he did it, he mentioned Graham informed him that he liked her.
In closing, Gilligan pretended that Graham was speaking to him from heaven. Graham informed Gilligan that he liked him. Gilligan replied, saying he was comfy saying the identical factor to his pal. However the gesture must wait.
“I believe I will simply let you know to your face the following time I see you,” Gilligan mentioned.
The display screen contained in the church then was crammed with photos of Graham with household, mates and police.
Cummins closed the 90-plus-minute service by telling everybody that Graham actually believed that life was a present from God, and that we ought to embrace life as a present, simply because the chief did.
Graham’s casket was introduced out of the church and positioned within the hearse by the Ocala Police Division Honor Guards. The household was handed an American flag by Interim Chief Mike Balken. There was a 21-gun salute, the enjoying of faucets, and a flyover. earlier than the household set out for a personal interment ceremony in Melrose.
Alongside the aspect streets close to the church, women and men stood by the aspect of the street, saluting or placing their arms over their hearts because the motorcade made its approach north alongside U.S. 441. Some individuals held up their cellphones, recording the Ocala police chief’s remaining journey.
Contact Austin L. Miller at 867-4118, [email protected] or @almillerosb.
Replace on aircraft crash in southwest Marion County
Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham died Sunday, Oct. 25 in a small-plane crash in southwest Marion County, in keeping with Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn. View the video from the Marion County Sheriff’s Workplace.