Laborers’ 42 family turns tragedy into altruism

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Rick Griffin Canine Donation
THE GRIFFIN FAMILY (from left) Carolyn, Rick Jr., their son Conner, Kim and Rick Griffin Sr. (Laborers Local 42) recently made a $15,000 donation to the city of Wentzville Police Department for the purchase of a police dog to help combat drug abuse in memory of Ryan Griffin, 20, who died of an accidental drug overdose.

It’s been nearly eight years since 20-year-old Ryan Griffin died from an accidental drug overdose, and what might have splinter most families has made the Griffin’s bond grow stronger as they remember Ryan by helping others.

Since that life-changing day, April 28, 2007, Ryan’s father, Rick Griffin, Sr., a recently retired organizer with Laborers Local 42, his wife, Kim, son, Rick (Jr.), his wife Carolyn and their son, Conner have turned their despair toward the positive, remembering their son and brother through the Ryan Griffin Memorial Foundation.

Since its formation, the Griffin’s have organized annual fundraisers, including the annual Ryan Griffin Memorial Golf Tournament to help the Foundation grow financially.

Last month, the Griffins presented a check for $15,000 to the city of Wentzville to buy a police dog that could serve to protect others from the dangers of drugs. The donation is part of the Griffin’s ongoing devotion to the Foundation that keeps Ryan’s memory alive.

KEEPING HIS MEMORY ALIVE

Rick Griffin Jr. stood at the dais of the Wentzville Board of Alderman meeting, Kim Griffin told city officials the Ryan Griffin Memorial Scholarship Foundation was started as a means to keep Ryan’s memory alive. Because of Ryan's love for the sport of wrestling approximately $50,000.00 in scholarships have been awarded to area high school wrestlers.

But the Griffin’s said that as the Foundation grew, Kim always wanted to do more to stop drugs from reaching young men and women.

“For many years, I have felt in my heart to do something for drug awareness,” Kim said. “Since 2007, this community and nationwide communities have seen the epidemic of drugs take our children from us too soon.”

FINDING ANOTHER PURPOSE

She said the idea of a K9 dog came to mind a couple of years ago, but the Griffins weren’t sure how to go about it. Then, a few months passed when Rick Griffin learned from Mayor Nick Guccione that the Wentzville Police Department was in need of a K9 dog.

“I received a phone call from my husband telling me he had a conversation with the mayor, and when Rick shared with Mayor Nick about our loss of Ryan, the mayor mentioned that the city of Wentzville had a need for a K9 dog to help with keeping the community free of drugs. Yes, he said a K9 dog! And I knew this was meant to be, and that Ryan's foundation does hold another purpose.”

My family is excited to be here tonight to present this check in the amount of $15,000 to the city of Wentzville to purchase a K9 dog in memory of Ryan Griffin.

HIGH HOPES

We have high hopes that this K9 dog will have a positive impact on this community in helping to prevent further distribution of drugs and to help save lives.

The donation from the Griffins will be used to purchase and train the dog, acquire a bullet-proof vest for the dog, print vehicle decals and more – all to help the Wentzville Police Department combat local drug problems.

The Wentzville Police Department is tentatively set to receive its new four-legged officer in September.

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