For the second year in a row, BrickHouse Security has awarded its $10,000 Education Scholarship for the families of police officers wounded in the line of duty.
This year’s recipient is Roy “Neil” Grant, a retired Baltimore police officer with a dedication to public service—a dedication he has instilled in his daughter Josie, the scholarship’s beneficiary.
“We don’t ask for help. We help others,” Mr. Grant wrote in his essay, required for the scholarship application.
Throughout his 23-year career with the Baltimore Police Department, Mr. Grant demonstrated a resilience and commitment to protecting the public, sometimes at the expense of his own well being.
Mr. Grant’s career began as a foot patrolman in Baltimore’s Southwestern District, one of the more notorious assignments in the country and the setting of the HBO crime drama The Wire. From the Southwest, he became a member of the Quick Response Team (QRT), an analog to the modern-day SWAT team, one of the first of its kind in the US.
After 3 years working 24-hour on-call QRT shifts, Mr. Grant returned to the streets of the Southwest, requiring more traditional hours in order to take on moonlight jobs part time to support a growing family.
While working his beat in 1987, he suffered an injury that would alter the course of his life.
Breaking up a street fight between two women, Mr. Grant was attacked by one of the assailant’s boyfriends, who was allegedly high on PCP. Mr. Grant fell, hitting his head on the bumper of a Ford Pinto. He rose, then fell again, this time hitting his head on the concrete, where he fell unconscious.
“Luckily the gas tank didn’t explode,” Mr. Grant says, showing a sense of humor about the incident.
The realities of the attack were far from funny, however. Mr. Grant was rushed to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
“They told my family I wasn’t going to make it through the night,” he says.
After six days in a coma, another month at Shock Trauma, and months at Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital, Mr. Grant became the most-seriously injured officer in the history of the Baltimore Police Department to return to full duty, and was awarded a Medal of Valor.
Despite a laundry list of ailments as a result of the attack, including a severe injury to the right-front hemisphere of his brain and the resulting loss of cognitive skills and memory, Mr. Grant began to relearn what it meant to be a police officer on the midnight shift working desk duty. After six months, a rejected offer of medical retirement, and the financial pressures of a still-growing family, Mr. Grant returned to the field.
“You want to be back out there with your people,” Mr. Grant says about his decision to leave desk duty.
For another 12 years, Mr. Grant, like his father and grandfather before him, served the public as a police officer, until he underwent his last, career-ending injury.
While apprehending a “drug enforcer,” a money collector for drug dealers, Mr. Grant fell onto his shoulder down an embankment. After two operations, limited shoulder rotation made him unable to qualify for his service weapon. He was retired.
Retirement afforded Mr. Grant the time to spend raising his young daughter, Josie; driving her to a host of extracurricular activities, and imparting the value of community service. He also instilled the importance of higher education.
“You are limited until you have that degree; that piece of paper,” Mr. Grant says.
With that encouragement, Josie dedicated herself to the betterment of others. At the age of 13, she founded Josie’s Smiles for Pediatrics, a charity which has coordinated the donation of over $45,000 worth of items to local Baltimore pediatric hospitals as well as orphanages in Panama.
She has served as an officer in both the Circle K and Key Clubs, volunteered her time to nearly a dozen charities, and has been honored by both the White House and the state of Maryland.
“Neil and Josie are exactly the kind of people we created this scholarship for,” says Todd Morris, BrickHouse Security Founder and CEO. “People who value service and have given so much back to their community.”
Josie will be the primary recipient of the $10,000 scholarship. Next year she will be a junior at Shenandoah University in Virginia where she is studying to become a neonatal nurse.
When asked what role her father played in her decision to become a nurse, she answers simply, “Everything,” adding, “He’s my best friend. My hero.”
The 2016 scholarship is now accepting submissions. Read more about it here.