In Memory of a Hometown Hero

 

On October 25, Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham lost his life in a single engine airplane crash. Chief Graham served as a police officer for 37 years, all of it save a brief stint in Iowa, with the Ocala Police Department. He returned to Ocala in 2012 to lead OPD.  He is survived by his wife and three children. He was a well-respected member of our community, and his loss leaves a hole in the fabric of our hometown.

In addition to his official duties, Chief Graham touched many lives as an active volunteer. He coached Little League Baseball, was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and served on multiple boards of directors, including Life South Blood Bank, Friends of the Ocala Christmas Parade, Central Florida Symphony Orchestra, Leadership Ocala and more. During his time in Iowa, he served on the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors for Cedar Rapids, and was a member of the Metro North Rotary Club.

Graham began his career in Ocala in 1983 as a patrolman. He rose through the ranks of the department, becoming Deputy Chief in 2004. In 2008, he left the department to become Chief in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He arrived there two weeks before a record-breaking flood struck the city. City officials praised his leadership during the flood and its aftermath.

After the flood, Graham worked to improve emergency communications in the area, implementing a $22 million project to better enable dispatchers countywide to communicate more easily. He also initiated the city’s School Resource Officer program.

In 2012, Graham returned to Ocala to take the position of chief. Throughout the past 8 years, he demonstrated his leadership once again, even as other cities erupted in protests last summer. As Black Lives Matter protesters marched peacefully in Ocala, Chief Graham joined them, and listened to their concerns.

In memory of Chief Graham, one of our talented graphic artists, Mychal Hayes, designed a custom coin. The design features Chief Graham in uniform on the front, standing in front of the iconic Ocala Police Headquarters building. Ribbons flanking Graham note his years of birth and death, and his badge number. A ribbon above pays tribute to the Chief’s 37 years of service to his profession and his community.

The reverse side features the official seal of the Ocala Police Department, which includes the department motto of Courage, Integrity and Character around the perimeter, and United States and Florida flags at the bottom.

TJM Promos has donated 350 memorial coins to the Ocala Police Department. It was our privilege to commemorate Chief Graham’s life of service in this way.