GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Dozens turned out to Celebration! Cinema North Monday for a screening of the movie “Patriots Day” as part of a yearslong push to raise money for a memorial to fallen Grand Rapids police officers.
The memorial is scheduled to be installed at 4 p.m. May 11 in Richmond Park on Grand Rapids’ West Side. It will feature the name of Grand Rapids Police Department Officer Robert Kozminski, who was killed in the line of duty on July 8, 2007, while responding to a domestic dispute.
“I think he was truly a son of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids born and bred, here to serve the community and ultimately paid the ultimate sacrifice in service,” GRPD Chief David Rahinsky said of Kozminski.
Tickets to Monday’s screening cost $25, $20 which will go toward the memorial. As many watched the film — which is about police responding to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings — they felt it was indicative of the kind of man Kozsminski was: a hero.
“If you look up hero, Robert Kozminski’s in the book of heroes. No doubt about it,” Kozminski’s friend, Jack Potes, said.
One side of the memorial will have Kozminski’s name. The other side will list the 14 other GRPD officers who have fallen in the line of duty. Chief Rahinsky said it’s important that all of them are permanently memorialized.
“I think it’s important for the family members who remain that they know that their loved ones were never forgotten,” he said.
The West Grand Neighborhood Association and Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille are partnering to raise funds for the memorial. So far, the effort has raised about $32,000, with a goal of $65,000.
$35,000 of the money raised will go toward the scholarship fund that pays for one year of tuition at Grand Rapids Community College for a student who hopes to work in law enforcement. Kozminski’s parents choose the recipient of that scholarship.
“I say (being a police officer is) the most important job in any city in the country, without question,” said Johnny Brann of Brann’s Steakhouse.
“He’d look down and he’d see all the great things that are happening in his name and who better of a person to have it happen to than Robert Kozminksi, because he sacrificed his life,” Potes said.
Donations may be made online.